Be the Kicker

Sunday morning Cooter came into our room, bouncing on the bed.  It being a day of rest, the Fella and I were trying to stretch it out as long as possible.  Cooter is a morning person, me–not as much.

He was excited about the upcoming Falcons game, and he and his partner in all things football talked about the games from the night before.  I may have zoned out a tad during this bit.  Eventually the conversation caught my attention again–when I heard the Fella say, “Yeah, I don’t know if I’d want to be the kicker.  You have to be on standby, ready to be called in at any time.”

The conversation lost my attention again at that point, as I thought about the kicker.  I used to imagine stress as like being the catcher in a baseball game–ready for a ball to come from any direction.  But a kicker, sitting on the sidelines, not knowing for sure when he will be called in…..and expected to help the team out in a big way when he is?  Bless.

Because that’s the thing about football–there’s never a time when you tell the kicker, “Eh, just whatever, man.  It won’t matter.”

Anything and everything that kicker does matters.

That night I was in my think tank (some folks call it a shower), and I started pondering on who the kickers are in my life.  Those folks who are there, on my team, ready to step in whenever, wherever I need them.

Like Mess Cat making the time to come out after dark to pick up our Princess because I was with our drama king, Cooter, at his dress rehearsal.  (Coming out after dark is a whole ‘nother level of showing up, y’all.)  Or my Aunt who picks up the phone and listens and shares laughter and wisdom and “poor baby’s.”  Or my Cousin who answers my SOS texts when I’ve sliced my finger open, cutting up the cabbage for supper.  Or Aub who hangs out with her siblings so I can go do what needs doing.  Or the Fella who takes time from work when things go awry.  Or my brother who listens so well or my neighborfriend who picks up oyster crackers for my sick one or steps up in so many other ways…..my friends…..family…..And so many more–all these wonderful kickers, who are there, waiting, willing to be called into “the game” (and chaos) of my life.  Present, interruptible, loving, wonderful people.

I think we are called to be kickers in this life.  Doing our own thing, sure, but never forgetting we are a part of a Team, sharing the same goal, same dreams.  Helping each other out whenever need be.

Kick on, my friends.

Love to all.

Chasing the Darkness With a Big Ol’ Broom

So today I heard the Story of the Chicken.

I have a friend, an amazing young woman in her last year of college who shared it on Facebook, and that chicken is what I’ve thought about much of today.

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Sweet chicken has no idea all the good in store for her. Photo courtesy of my talented photographer friend https://www.facebook.com/sunshinephotography2012

Apparently this poor chicken fell off of a “chicken truck,” and my friend and her friends saw it.  When questioned about the fate of the chicken, she shared that the bus driver for their apartment area was going to come back and get the fallen bird.

The bus driver has a farm.

This chicken is on her way to be a pet.

Oh bless.  That makes my heart so happy!

I’ve thought about that poor chicken and how she must have figured, riding on that truck, that the worst had pretty much happened and her fate was sealed.  Then, as if things couldn’t get any worse, she falls off that truck.

Which wound up being a wonderful turning point in her life instead of the great tragedy it could have been.

Thanks to the kind soul of the bus driver.

I do this, do you?  I ride along thinking things are really bad and then something happens and I think OH NO COULD THIS GET ANY WORSE? and it turns out that, no actually, what I thought was going to be even worse is really quite wonderful.

Not always.  But enough times that I find myself having hope even in the hardest of situations, when it just makes no sense.

Sometimes we’re the chicken, y’all–in a real predicament.

But sometimes, we get the opportunity to be the bus driver.

And when we do, we should take it.  We really, really should.

The bus drivers of the world, the ones willing to take another in and give them comfort–they are the folks who are chasing the darkness into a corner with a big ol’ broom and making this world a much better place.

One little soul at a time.

Love to all.

Telling Folks Where to Go

So there was this sign out yesterday a couple of streets over, advertising that there was going to be a neighborhood meeting tonight.  I texted with my sweet neighborfriend, curious if she or her husband were planning on attending.  I had a question or two, and I’d been trying to figure out how I could make it work so I could go.  But it wasn’t looking promising.

“Probably not,” she wrote back.  “It doesn’t even say where it is.”

Huh.  You know what, she was absolutely right.

Y’all, there I’d been spinning my wheels trying to head in a direction that I didn’t have a clue about.

Not the first time that’s happened on this journey.  I found it ironic that in all of my planning and thinking it all through, the ultimate direction I needed to go wasn’t even part of the equation.

All too often, my friends.  All too often.

This evening I sat at the pool, watching Cooter practice and trying to keep from getting chilled (it was in the 60’s–brrrr!), and I thought about the folks at the meeting.  The ones who planned it and set the sign out, letting the rest of us know about it.

Don’t you know they were sitting over there (Wherever THERE was), wondering why no one else was showing up?

Folks, if you don’t tell people where you are, how are they going to meet you there?

I have friends who are able to speak to their pain, their sadness, their worries, their struggles, and I admire them for that.  We can’t walk alongside them, toting a light to help see the path or help them up when they stumble if we don’t know WHERE THEY ARE, can we?

And yet, how often do we think we’re leaving signs that we are struggling or upset or overwhelmed and get our feelings hurt when no one shows up to say, “I’m here–  I’ll sit with you in this darkness,” when we would be so much better off if we just came out and said exactly how we are hurting?

No?  Just me?  Okay then.

Tonight I’m thankful for my neighborfriend reminding me that if we don’t have directions, there’s no sense in worrying over if we can get there or not.  And I’m thankful for the folks who speak from their hearts and let me know where they are and how I can help.  Most of all, I give thanks for the ones who come to my side when I do speak up about the hard things, when I show them where I am.  I couldn’t keep traipsing along without them.

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Leave a map, y’all.  Folks want to be there, but you have to be brave and let them know where you are.

Love to all.

of what doesn’t make sense

we have this need, don’t we,
to make sense of what doesn’t

to figure out the why
sometimes becomes very important,
almost urgent

I wonder if we get that from our mothers
or our fathers
or from the One who created us

though of course I feel fairly
certain there are times when
even the One who painted the sky
that brilliant cerulean hue
and strung the stars across the darkened dome
cannot figure out why the things that happen
happen as they do

and in those moments I feel God squatting down
beside me
helping me pick up the pieces left over
after the storm has blown through
gently, quietly there
patiently handing me what is left
to begin again

it reminds me how, when the Lego habitat vehicle creature
has been demolished by a careless hand or movement,
I wipe the tears and
kneel down beside the one whose heart is broken,
picking up the pieces one by one and handing them back
to my little one
whispering encouraging words,
in the hopes that soon, in his own time,
he will find the strength, desire, and courage
to try to build it again,
maybe even better this time

once his heart begins healing
and he no longer seeks to make sense
of the chaos that ensued

and instead
bit by bit
moves on, beyond,
leaving some questions asked
unanswered
and yet, somehow, in the presence
of rainbows and the One who lined up
those colors
just so
finds peace
and rests in that
one more night

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Sometimes They’re the Words I Need to Hear

So when someone is having a hard time, feeling broken, lost, alone, worried, upset, anxious, and you don’t know what to say–

silence is okay.  Sitting right there next to them and saying nothing is okay.

But you know what else is okay?

Saying, “It will be okay.”

Because sometimes whether it will be all right or not isn’t the point exactly.  Sometimes, whatever happens, they will be okay because they won’t be alone.

They have you–either sitting there in silence or reminding them that this moment will pass, by saying that one word–

not “okay.”

But “will.”

With that one word, we turn to the future.

Will.

Be.

Okay.

It might not be now, but this too will pass.

I’ve thought about this a lot tonight, and yes, at times it might seem like a trite (or downright inappropriate) thing to say, but sometimes we need reminding that things as they are in this moment won’t always be this way.

Things WILL right themselves once the storm passes and these choppy waters settle, and it will be okay.

There is comfort in not being alone.  And having someone remind you to look ahead.  Beyond THIS.

Tonight I’m thankful for the one who reminded me, “It will be okay.  You will be okay.” I love you.

May we all have someone who knows us well enough to know when those words are the ones we need to hear.

Love to all.

Daddy and the Stale Vanilla Wafers

My Daddy loved stale vanilla wafers.

I learned to love them too. Or rather, I should say, I learned I loved them too.

Because, yes.

Very good.  The flavor is no different, but it’s all about the texture.

Daddy and I never really talked about our preference.  I just know that there was a feeling of comfort to walk in the house, open that first cabinet door to the right of the refrigerator and find a box of vanilla wafers with the top of the box closed but the bag standing wide open on the inside.   The way that some things never changed made me happy.

Vanilla wafers were the first things not on the list of fruits and veggies and cereals that I was giving my children that Daddy handed each one of them.  And they loved them…..and loved him for it.  How could I be mad when I saw the look of sheer joy on their faces as they beamed, faces and hands and probably shirts covered in vanilla wafer goop that becomes much like glue?  I can remember one of my three barely being able to open her eyes because of the goop surrounding them.  But there was no mistaking that smile.  Grin wide open.

So I’m not sure what it is about the stale wafers that is so appealing, but I was reminded of it when I grabbed one of the Fella’s sweet potato chips (yes, we have separate bags–that’s a story for another night though–the struggle is real, is all I’m saying), and I realized it was a little stale because the bag hadn’t been closed properly. (And–Georgia humidity.)

I was happy.  That chip was the perfect texture.

And all I can think is there is something comforting about things–food and people and the like–who take in their surroundings and assimilate.  You know, those that don’t have so many artificial ingredients that they stand up, and it’s like nothing can affect them at all.

I like a little compassion, I guess.  In my people and my wafers and chips, apparently.

Tonight, I’m thankful for memories of my Daddy.  Happy ones about shared joy and how he loved his grands.  I’m thankful for opened bags that lend just the right amount of something to the things I enjoy.  And I’m thankful for folks who allow themselves to take in what is going on around them and be changed by it.  And still be beautiful and loved.

Love and wishes for a box of vanilla wafers, however you best enjoy them, to all.

By Evan-Amos (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Evan-Amos (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

that day

well it certainly isn’t like I don’t know that day is coming
soon
but I really admire the ostriches and how they address things such as this
burying their heads,
long necks stretched out at such an angle–
that takes skill and precision too, you know
so it’s not like I’m taking the easy way out
by doing the same and
ignoring the fact
that day
will come

I’d much rather plug my ears and sing the “lalalalalalas” of childhood
the tune that kept out all of the things I didn’t want to hear–
sad, silly, unhappy, secrets, scary stories–
than to listen and think through all the whereupons and what for’s of
that day
which is coming

so if you see me out in the yard, seemingly sunning myself in
a convoluted position, tail feathers to the sky
know that I’m merely holding on to the last remnant of hope
and denial
that maybe that day
won’t come
after all

at least not soon

and now, upon reading, I discover the ostriches’ coping is a myth
they are merely digging holes
with their beaks
to make a nest

I could do that too–
only if I could build it and then stay
there
tucked away from the hard things in life
the brokenness, pain, and heartbreak
sitting there, safe
in a place where
hopefully
that day can never reach me
and change my world forever

"Struthio camelus -Eastern Cape -South Africa-8" by Graham - originally posted to Flickr as IMG_0642. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Struthio_camelus_-Eastern_Cape_-South_Africa-8.jpg#/media/File:Struthio_camelus_-Eastern_Cape_-South_Africa-8.jpg

“Struthio camelus -Eastern Cape -South Africa-8” by Graham – originally posted to Flickr as IMG_0642. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Struthio_camelus_-Eastern_Cape_-South_Africa-8.jpg#/media/File:Struthio_camelus_-Eastern_Cape_-South_Africa-8.jpg