Thursday’s Gonna Come

Two days of thought-provoking, soul-searching conversations filled with laughter and tears and wishing that “what is” could be better and dreaming of how we can make it so…..

and returning with a jolt to the real world of laundry and dishwashers with broken baskets and worrying over food allergies all over again and struggling to understand how your children have more cavities and wishing just this once this child could understand the assignment and get it done without all the struggles–

and all those first world kind of problems.

It would be easy to get on my pity pot and look upon all of this as an interruption.

An interruption to where my mind is going–thinking of what can be done, must be done, to make the world a better place–an interruption to the wheels spinning and all the IMPORTANT things that I MUST DO.

And then, just in the nick of time, I got an e-mail from one of my heroes.

One of the reasons he is my hero is I can look to him for a way to understand things, a way to take action–he sets a good example, and he is willing to share about his experiences so we can all learn from them.

Hugh Hollowell sent out a newsletter titled “The Interruptions Are Our Work.”

Well.

He was spot on with this one–timing and everything.

This man who shared his ideas and laughter and inspired me to dig deeper as we talked and listened Sunday and Monday–he continued on into Thursday.

And for that I am thankful.

Because, my friends, no matter what grand thoughts Sunday and Monday call you to have and think upon, Thursday will come.  With its laundry and coughs and worries and cavities.  It will come.

And here is the grace for Thursday, in the words of Hugh Hollowell of Love Wins Ministry:

“But I have come to see that that is okay. In fact, it’s good. Because more than ever, I can see that the interruptions to my work, the people who interrupt my work, well, they actually are my work. And there’s much work to be done.”

I do not mean to make light of the work that my friend and his staff are doing in North Carolina with people who are dealing with homelessness.  But I do find comfort in these words.  The interruptions are my work.

In this season.

For now.

For far too short a time, these little people and their needs–their meals, their learning, their dirty clothes, their laughter, and regretfully, yes, even their cavities–this is my work.

And I’m privileged to do it.  I just need a wake up call every now and again to remind me of that.

Today I read a comment in the world of social media that made me very sad.  This person wrote that caring for my children, for my home, for my aging parents, for an elderly relative–these things are not contributing to society.  He/she continued on to say that if I were out in the world caring for people who were not my own, whom I wasn’t “obligated” to care for, only then could it really be said that I am contributing to society.

It made me sad because I don’t think this person gets it.  And he or she obviously has never had the privilege and joy of hearing David LaMotte and Hugh Hollowell speak.  I distinctly heard them say that caring for those in our own homes, own families–that’s a part of changing the world for the better.

Tonight I’m thankful for that message.  For the knowing in my heart that what I’m doing matters–and I’m thankful that when I lose sight of that message–I can open up an email from my hero and mentor and read that all of these things that I think might be interruptions of the “important work” there is to do–

This is my important work.

Know this, my friends, what you are doing today matters.

I’m sorry, did you miss that?  Read it with me.

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What

you

are

doing

today

MATTERS.

Whether you are wiping runny noses or signing paychecks

whether you are singing “Let It Go” with your child for the 1,267th time

or planning a going away for a colleague

whether you are reading a book

or writing one

whether you are knitting a dress for your granddaughter’s doll

or buying one at the GW Boutique for your neighbor’s friend

WHAT YOU ARE DOING TODAY MATTERS.

The smile you choose to put on your face, in spite of your worries

The hug you give your grandmother who has aged so much since you last saw her

The friend you are driving to the doctor’s office

The cup of coffee you just rang up for the customer with the bad attitude and no cash for tips

The person you just let merge in front of you in traffic

The change you just dropped in the jar for the family in need

The song you carry in your heart

The shoulder you offer for others to lean and cry on

The laughter you share with another over a memory or joke

WHAT YOU ARE DOING TODAY MATTERS.

No matter where you are, what you are doing.  It is changing the world.

You don’t get a choice in that.

But you do get a choice in how it matters.  Whether it changes life for those around you for the better or not.

Even if they seem not to notice it.

It still matters.

Make it good.

Love to all.

 

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Hugh Hollowell’s newsletter can be read in its entirety here.  I highly recommend signing up to receive those in your inbox.  You never know when they might change your day.  For the better.

Beep Beep Boop

So as seems to keep happening in this world, at least in my world, things keep changing.

I mean, I just found out that “Mystery Science Theater 3000” is still out there, only the newer ones are different.

Well, that’s disappointing.

And don’t even get me started on when Steve left “Blues Clues.”  I grieved y’all.  And this is not a word I take lightly.  (I mean no offense to his cousin Joe, I just really don’t like change.  And I really did like Steve.)

Recently WordPress, this site right here where I sit and visit with y’all each night, changed their format.  I didn’t even know what to do with that.  After a night or two of trying to maneuver it, I was so relieved to see a window pop up that offered me the option of reverting back to the “classic” mode.

Ah yes, please and thank you.

And so each night when prompted, I opt for the classic mode.

The only thing I really like about the “new” version is this screen right here:

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This cracks me up.  It pops up while I wait to be redirected to the screen for my “new post.”  I even find myself sitting here, giggling, making the sound over and over–beep beep boop, beep beep boop, as the three lights alternate movement.

Beep beep boop.

Beep beep boop.

Waiting.

On the next screen.

Or the next thing.

In limbo.

Waiting.

I feel like that’s where I am on my journey right now.

Right in the middle of beep beep boop.

Limbo lower now.

Sorry, my brain took off without me there for a minute.

That whole waiting, waiting for the destination, for direction, for a path.

That’s where I live right now.  Only I have moments and days and weeks where it’s not as entertaining living it as it is seeing those words blip across my screen.

Beep beep boop.

I live with the hope that one day the screen of my daytodailies, of this journey, will change and I will see clearly where I’m heading–where I’m supposed to be heading.

Until then, I suppose I’ll choose to be entertained, and maybe I’ll use my waiting time to go read a book.  Or unload the dishwasher.

Or–I might need a nap.

Love to all.

 

Love Will Keep Us Together

Do any of you remember the song by the Captain and Tennille, written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, “Love Will Keep Us Together?”

Yeah.

I was so sad when I heard recently that they were divorcing.  Not that I know them personally.  It’s just a hard thing to go through, no matter what the situation, and well, yeah, sad.

So I’ve been thinking about that song and that sentiment this evening.  I’m sorry.  This has been a hard week.  With issues nationally and personally begging for love and falling short, it’s been emotionally exhausting.

Weekend, anyone?

Yes, please.

Unfortunately, the need for love doesn’t take holidays or vacations.  Our world, our communities, our people–need love all day, every day.

And it’s up to us to share it.

I’ve seen a lot of things this past week that have pained me and caused me to grieve for us as a people.  People patting themselves on the backs for “convincing” World Vision to reverse its hiring policy change by threatening to cancel their sponsorships of a child in need.  Good-NESS.  Pastors of mega-churches suggesting their friends and congregants should make the call and cancel sponsorships, and then later celebrating a “victory for the church.”  Friends posting pictures of people in restaurants or stores dressed differently, poking fun at how they look.  Oh my, how many times have I left home to get something for a sick young’un, looking like a hot mess?  There are probably pictures of me floating around somewhere too.  *sigh*

I have been honored, however, to read a few thoughts others have shared about the World Vision hiring policy change and reversal that are encouraging and empowering.  I appreciate that they are willing to step up and speak out, not necessarily on either side of the issues, but instead, for love.  Love will keep us together, right?  And we’re made for community, for togetherness, for loving each other.  No matter how hard that is.  (And I know of which I speak, my friends.)

Darian Burns wrote a great post (link here) about the stance that World Vision took.  And about how love didn’t happen in any of this.  But some of my favorite words he wrote were in his replies to the comments.  He referred to the sinful responses following the announcement of the policy change.  Many of the responses to World Vision’s announcement were nowhere near loving, so yes, sinful is a good word for them.

He also wrote this:

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I cling to these words.  I do not believe it’s up to me.  At all.  I do not presume to think I know all the right answers, and I do not believe I’m going to “change someone” by arguing my points over and over and over.  To love and love and love some more.  That is what I feel called to do.

Again, not easy.  But there it is.  There’s no compromising on that one.  I’ve had Mama and Jesus telling me that, to be kind and loving, all my life.  How can I think it’s okay to do otherwise?

Heather at the Extraordinary Ordinary wrote a heart-tugging post about what love looks like in response to the hard things going on this week.  In sharing her story, she mentioned that she had Jehovah’s Witnesses come by her home.  Rather than slamming the door shut, she received them with love, wondering about their stories and lives.  Beautiful.

It reminded me of a similar experience I had.  A few years ago we had two Jehovah’s Witness ladies who came by our house once a month.  I didn’t have much if any previous experience with the whole knocking at your door and talking about Jesus thing, so I was mostly fascinated.  That might have read as enthusiasm and receptiveness on my face.  And that’s okay.  Because what I found was they were lovely people.  We stood and visited on my front porch, sometimes for just a few minutes and sometimes longer.  One time after they’d been by a couple of times, they knocked and I went to the door wiping away the tears I’d been crying over the death of my Daddy just two weeks before.  They kindly asked, I shared, and their compassion was a thing of beauty.  An art.  I am thankful to this day for their kindness.

Because, you see, we had more in common than not.  Never mind the difference in religion, beliefs, race, family and geographical backgrounds–we all three knew what it was like to be a woman, and we all knew what sadness felt like.  And in that moment, we were all together.  Loving each other.  Them with compassion and me with appreciation.

Lord have mercy.

In her discussion on what love looks like, Heather writes:

I don’t care if you are gay, straight, overly hairy or purple. I don’t care if you’ve had an abortion or if you’ve slept with 398 people. This is not my concern. I will not regret not being concerned about this. I will not regret loving you. Concerning myself with all of those things is unloving because we cannot possibly over-think such things without judgment. It’s just impossible.

These might possibly be some of my favorite words ever.  Man, I wish I’d written them.  Thank you Heather.

Because that is truth.

I will not regret not letting our differences keep me from hearing your story.  I will not regret not letting the fact that you are sleeping in the woods in your homemade campsite keep me from loving you like a brother.  I will not regret not letting that you shared with me that you were molested by your uncle as a child and are now a lesbian keep me from being friends with you.  We both know what broken relationships look like; it doesn’t matter that we have different kind of relationships.  I will not regret getting to know you beyond the first impression that might have been more about me than you.  But what I will regret is if I let any of these things keep me from stepping out of my comfort zone.  And loving you.  And all of your stories.

And you know what else?

I hope that someone will do these same things for me.  I hope they won’t regret not letting my messy house keep them from pursuing a friendship with me anyway.  I hope they’ll work around my quirky ways and oddities and want to hear my stories too.  (And I hope they won’t take incriminating photos of me on my last-minute grocery runs for Ginger Ale and saltines.)

I hope I’ll be loved.

We can all use more of that in this world.  And if we share it, as Heather pointed out, I don’t think we’ll regret it.

Love will keep us together.  And we need each other, y’all.  Really.

 

 

 

What Pours Out of You?

Today I was able to be a part of the Holiday Marketplace at Bare Bulb Coffee.  Aub and I were there for over four hours hanging out and visiting with the people who came in to browse or shop.

During the afternoon I made the acquaintance of a young expectant mother who had a table set up with her wares.  She has a home business as a rep selling bags for a reputable company.  She was always the first of the vendors to speak to people, and she had a way of engaging folks who dropped by.  She had the most attractive display.  It was cheery and full of the holiday spirit.  And all those bags!  I was in bag heaven.  (Have I mentioned my bag obsession? Thank goodness for the GW Boutique and eBay!)  Watching the young woman visit with people, I thought of Daddy.  He would have described her as “eat up with personality.”  And that was her to a “T.”

As people who are in close quarters for a period of time do, we wound up in conversation.  In hearing her story, I was taken aback.  It was not what I was expecting at all.  She sells the bags to supplement a school she runs and owns in Honduras–for any and all children.  A bilingual school, it is a step above the public schools there and gives the children a head start to make life better for them and their families.  She sells the bags for the children.  I had to sit and let that soak in.  So many who sell as reps for companies like this sell for the incentives or commissions so they can help their own families.  And there is nothing wrong with that at all.  But this young mother of one and one on the way, a military spouse, sells these to help her mission of helping children in another country–so many of whom are there on scholarship.  Bless them all.

At one point she apologized for sharing so much of her story.  She said she tells it fast because there’s so much to tell, and she worries that she shouldn’t go on and on about it.

Oh sweet girl.  Do not apologize.

When you have a passion like hers, it pours out.  Beautifully and wonderfully so. It flows like a bubbling brook, cool and refreshing and full of life and sparkling goodness.  And so hers did today.  About this school.  About the people there.  About her students.

I was reminded of a couple of things today.  Daddy used to tease Mama that she drew people to her to tell her their life stories.  His eyes lit up as he teased her about it.  It was truth.  And she loved hearing people’s stories as did he.  I am glad I got to hear the fascinating story of this young missionary in Honduras who married her husband who was stationed there and wound up living in this same community as I do.  Coincidence that threw us together today?  Maybe.  But I don’t think it was coincidence that I asked the right questions that led her to share her story.  I am thankful for the time and space to learn about her journey.

The other thing is the way her passion poured out of her–what a thing to see!  I wonder what pours out of me when I’m under the spell of what lies in my heart.  Anything good?  Is it about my past sadness and loss?  Or is it about the laughter echoing in my head from something silly my children were sharing a few minutes ago?  Or is it something else entirely?

What pours out of you?  What can’t you wait to share with others?  I need to do an inventory and fall housekeeping of my heart to rearrange what is there.  I want to glow and beam with a story I can’t contain.  It looks good on a body, that’s for sure–that passion of doing what your soul is called to do.

Yes, that’s the good stuff.  And today I am thankful for the reminder.  Sharing stories is good.  Sharing your passion is priceless.