This is part of a new series on the blog surrounding the ordinary faithfulness of the body of Christ and the work of the Spirit throughout it. Click here to see all of the pieces. My hope is you will be encouraged and spurred on to be faithful in the small. “I think...
His bowtie was perfectly situated. Half of my classmates in the lecture hall wanted to laugh, the other half thought it was cool. All of us were nervous. The class was known for its difficulty, due for the most part to the well-dressed man standing before us. For the next seventy minutes, I joined my classmates with silent groans as we looked at the grading rubric that would be our standard for the next sixteen weeks. My pride beckoned me rise to the challenge the man in the bowtie dared me to accept. Yet as the weeks unfolded, I found that Professor Boyd had much more to teach me that semester than Perspectives on Communication.
For the following weeks we learned about concepts like dialogue, rhetoric, and ethnographic studies. Through our lectures and yes- even bowtie-tying demonstrations- we were taught the material, not only with the goal of good grades, but for the purpose of knowledge. Though I struggled at times, I couldn’t help but come to class wanting to learn. Woven into each lecture, my professor shared not just a textbook, but he shared his passions with us. He sought to change us. Not long into the class I soon discovered another of my professor’s passions.
They say senses hold memories. I know it’s true. The sound of birds. The warmth of a breeze blowing through a screen door. The sight of light refracting through the hundreds of edges of a crystal chandelier.
These memories take me to another place. I see myself running through the yard of my grandparents’ house picking the hard red berries that fell from their tree. I can feel the bushes against my arms while I run the path at the back of their property and smell the prize of the small lemon tree. I can hear the boards of the treehouse groan beneath my feet while I play house with my baby or pretend that I’m a navigator on a great ship.
The grip of memories is fascinating. I barely recall what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can still taste the dates in my six-year-old mouth as I held my grandmother’s hand walking through the neighborhood farmers’ market.
We recently returned from a family vacation in Florida where warm sand castles and cool salty waves filled our days. The break from the ordinary was welcome, but as we pulled into our driveway and were greeted by the chilly air- I was reminded again of the routines we were plunging into.There is work to attend to, meals to cook, dishes to wash, school to teach, and oh- the laundry. There are lawns to mow, pipes to fix, health issues to hash out, and kids to continue to care for. Our week away was only a band-aid. It lured us with its turquoise blues and noble palm trees making us believe that we could escape it all.Except of course- we couldn’t.
Snow carpets the earth beneath my feet
As I trample overhead I think of what lies below.
Is it still there?
Months ago I dug my hands into that cool dirt.
The small bulbs shook my hand with a promise
Not now, but soon.
But I want to see the purples, yellows, and whites.
I covet stalks that reach to the sky,
For petals of beauty.
Instead the harsh winter chills the ground
And thawing snows gives way to mud.
The pledge feels gone.
Yet hidden in this dirt sits life.
Slowly it pushes aside what doesn’t belong,
Slowly it grows-
Out towards neighboring soil for nourishment,
Deeper into the anchor that holds it firm-
Always with purpose.
One day I’ll catch a glimpse of its green.
I’ll see a tiny shoot and hope will remind me-
Not now, but soon.
For now I await the promise that was made
And remember that colors won’t ever come
‘til they move the mud.
The promise is firm, but ever patient.
So I fasten myself to the hope of soon
But even now, too
Yes- even now the Spirit moves and gives life.
Maybe I should just quit.
Lately these words keep turning in my mind like a merry-go-round pushed by the latest Christian controversy. Today they are forced to the forefront by the news of James Macdonald’s firing and the wreckage of lives hurt from his seedy underbelly. Tomorrow it might be something else. Since submitting my pen (or maybe my fingers?) to write in small ways for the broader church I have found myself plagued by this thought.
Watching the rise and fall of celebrities within the Christian writing and preaching world, I’ve become more convinced we need a lot more nobodies than a lot of big somebodies. The small and the unseen seems better than the platforms for the masses. Surely a written note of encouragement to a sister nearby is more lasting than the fleeting swipes of the finger. Do my own words contribute to the problem?
Brisk wind arrives outside my window
Each gust plucks another leaf from the familiar
Put away what is gone;
Prepare for the new
The chill of winter stretches on…
I don’t do well with doctors. Or maybe I do too well for them. The past sixteen years have been peppered with waiting rooms, tests, and questions that don’t come with simple answers. Time may have healed the cuts that once gaped open, but their scars affect much more than the color of my skin.
A few weeks ago I visited a podiatrist for a simple outpatient procedure. Once the pain from the numbing needle subsided- alone in the room with my husband- I began to panic. I felt my breath quicken and my heart beat faster. The pain of trauma from years ago spilled from my eyes as I looked at my husband. I flashed back to images of hospital beds, IVs, and memories I never asked for.
Fingernails speckled in neon pink move up and down as my daughter shapes her masterpiece. Her fingers push and pull against the lumps of dough on the table in front of her. Later in the day she’ll use those same hands to grasp a crayon and turn the simple tubes of wax...
This past weekend thousands of women joined together- some boarding airplanes, others squeezing next to friends in the car and making the long drive to the Indianapolis Convention Center. We got our lanyards, studied our maps, took silly photos, and worked hard to...
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