Saving Your Life

Saving Your Life

I peeked out my upstairs, bedroom window on November 1, about 8:00 am, and looked out into our backyard. Amidst the sunlight peering through fall leaves and the dew glistening on the grass, I saw . . . A tiny storm trooper running full speed through the yard. My little four-year old neighbor. Our dog barking her head off alerted me to this visitor outside. I couldn’t quite get my early-morning brain to pull thoughts together and figure out why he was there, and where his mom was. We had celebrated Halloween with friends and their littles the night before, so I wondered: Did he sleep in his costume last night? (Makes total sense) Did we forget someone when we all went to bed last night? Then, I found my phone and saw this text:   After dying laughing, I searched my son’s room and found the mask under a pile of toys and clothes. Obviously. I ran outside and delivered the mask to the little storm trooper and his super-mom in the mini-van. That one is only topped by the text from earlier in the week that made me DIE laughing. I can’t. Cannot. The image of my 100 percent stylish, Type A, take-on-the-world friend hoisting herself onto a mannequin to strip him down made me sit right down and laugh. Which always makes my day brighter. There was also this honest lament made me howl: I mean. Tiny Sister Friend KNOWS the truth about her favorite clothes. She won’t get to wear them again. Probably not ever. Who among us has not felt bummed about a favorite...
Listening

Listening

“Spread the map on the table, with the coffee stain Put your finger on the places, show me where you’ve been Is that California, where your teardrops dried? You drew a circle around Georgia, can you tell me why?” A season of quiet does not mean that nothing is happening. Often, it means that things are becoming, growing beneath the surface. Things are stirring in the heart. That has been true for me. After I marched and wrote about it, I felt hurt and hushed by some of the reactions. I felt the impulse to explain myself, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t have to. So, I decided to shift my attention. I let the noise do what it will, and I turned my face to work that I love. Nurturing friendships, caring for my family, finishing projects, making a home. It’s been a while since I wrote here. A time of listening rather than speaking. I gave myself permission to simply be quiet, to receive the gifts that are before me, and to listen carefully. I heard what I needed to hear. I realized that I do not have to fill the silent space if I want to be quiet. I can be still. I can listen for the Spirit’s voice, for my own voice. It’s there. I can attend to the people who teach me everything, my beloveds. The little one who runs everywhere he goes, who laughs at the things I might miss. The one who listens to me, knows my heart, and loves me well. We have a beautiful home together. I’ve heard so...
I stood on Hope

I stood on Hope

Today, I got to stand on hope. Literally.   My family attended the dedication of the new fountain in our favorite local park. We watched this building project for months in our trips to the park. Few things thrill a little boy’s heart more than watching real, live construction. Few things thrill this mama’s heart more than learning the theme of this new fountain: a Peace Fountain. Before I could even think of the scripture reference for the first verse that came to mind, I learned that powerful words would be etched around this fountain. Quotes from local people who had worked for justice, peace and love would circle around this fountain. I couldn’t wait to see this tangible picture of the prophet’s words, “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24) In our city, like many cities, we need the waters of peace like never before. In our city, like many cities, we have people who work to make the fountain of peace come to life. People gave their time, their expertise. People planted trees, spread pinestraw, and donated bricks. People put themselves into this work. The fountain is the centerpiece of a park that has been brought back to life. The last time this fountain stood tall was about 1934. This area and this park have been through years of neglect and disrepair. But through the work of a community coming together, transformation is there. It is a whole new scene. It looks like hope. When my newsfeed began to fill with responses to the latest violence yesterday, hope was not...
Now It’s Something Else

Now It’s Something Else

The “mom” in me was already excited about this day. A playdate in the park, friends, picnic lunch, fun for the littles that did not require my own Pinterest research, and enough outside play to promise a nap. What’s not to love? The “people person” in me was excited about adult conversation, even if it was interrupted by the occasional “hands to yourself” and “use your nice words” every few minutes. Mostly, the “wondering” in me could not wait to see the owls. I had heard about these owls all week, since they were sculpted by a local artist. There was a massive tree in the middle of the park that needed to be removed. Instead, its trunk became art. A one hundred year old cedar tree that had decayed and been cut to the stump was transformed into an amazing piece of art. Chris Lantz is an artist who uses a chainsaw – a CHAINSAW – to carve and scupt things into beautiful works of art. I’m just going to leave that there for a minute, for you, my preacher-teacher-thinker-artist friends . . . Old tree. Dying. Rather than being removed, it was transformed by an artist with an eye for what could be. Yep. Go right on ahead with your imagery, dreamer friends. It’s all there. Rich history, renewal, artistry, rebirth, wisdom, hope. All of that. And it is the coolest piece of art my child has ever played on. After we marched through the park, our fearless leader Carol had mystified the children with a challenge: “Let’s see if we can find something that used to...
Making a Circle

Making a Circle

The table is where it happens. It’s chaotic, usually. You grab the dishes, make sure there’s something green (or slightly healthy), you pour the milk and get everybody to sit down. Just pause a minute. After the sixth time we put Little One back in his chair and swat the dog away from the table because she is snacking every time we’re not looking, we stop. We pause. We reach out and take hands because we are trying to make a ritual out of this anything-but-refined meal. We sing the blessing and hold the hands. We were at the table this weekend with more guests than usual. For Dad’s birthday, we cooked for him. Nothing says love to Dad like a home cooked meal, so that is what we made. And like we do, we tumbled into the dining room in a chaotic storm. I don’t know how nice, quiet families calmly sit down to a meal, but we are basically the opposite of them. We are a loud whirlwind of plate carrying (husband), telling (Mom), barking (three dogs), commenting (Sister and Brother), requesting (Little One. And his grandmother), bossing (Me), and spilling (husband). The honored guest, dear old Dad, just sat there watching us whirl around him. And then we paused. We reached out hands and began to sing our blessing, when Little One, shouted, “Wait! Look!” He was so excited to recognize what he saw as we held hands: “We making a circle!” Yes, we are. Around the table, our reach to one another shaped something that even this three year old could recognize. Our circle was...
Re-take: Some Lessons for the Church From a Two-Year-Old

Re-take: Some Lessons for the Church From a Two-Year-Old

Around this house, we don’t say “bless you!” when we sneeze. We rarely say “uh-oh” if something spills or slips. If a certain little boy sees you sneeze, drop something or even trip and fall, he has taken to saying “Re-take!” This started because of a video message we sent to a favorite babysitter recently. We were filming him singing happy birthday and he was trying so hard to get it right. Our little production was humming along perfectly until he had a major sneeze in the middle of it. To keeping him from weeping, I said, “Re-take!” with a camera still rolling. And the tradition was born. As he watches this video of his very own self over and over (what, you DON’T watch videos of yourself over and over?) the story has cemented. You mess up, the only proper response is: Re-take! Your perfect, practiced performance gets interrupted by something you didn’t expect? Re-take. This is what I think Church is about. Looking out for one another and remembering to say, “re-take.” Even if the words sound something like “bless you,” the hope behind them is that we are offered and can offer forgiveness, resurrection and peace. We are reminded that second chances and re-starts are available to us. And the reminder comes from someone near to us, unfazed by our blunders, maybe laughing but still shouting, “Re-take!” You might also enjoy these posts...