Dipping the Toe

Thoughts on life and faith and faith in life

Author: Tamara Belanger (page 2 of 21)

Crackers Change Things

I have a friend.  She seeks me out at work just to check in and sift through the snapshots of our lives and see what’s there to grow from, think about, cry for, and together we look for the Lover of our souls working.  Her encounters warm me and remind me I’m not alone at the campfire.  Recently, she took the choral group from our school on a trip to New York City.  They were gone for four days and I watched eager for their pictures telegraphed home on social media, smiles wide, eyes sparkly, joy.  When my friend came back to school on the fifth day, we sat at my table in the bookstore, her telling me stories, me picturing them eager in my head.   This one, though, this “picture” story?  It knicked at my heart and left it sore and tender.  I can’t forget  what I “see”.

They’d been in Central Park that day.  The afternoon was setting in and cold sat heavy in the air.  They made their way across the street to a Starbucks to warm up with coffee.  A quick and easy fix.  No one needed to think twice about it.  It was there and they could get it.  Each student, at the beginning of the trip, had been given a “blessing bag” with some things in it a person with nowhere to go and nowhere to turn might want.  Small comforts.  They were told to look with eyes to see, to be watching for the person who they wanted to give their bag to.

As they walked out of Starbucks, the wind tapping them on the shoulder, one of the young ladies noticed someone sitting on the sidewalk a few paces away.  She was a tiny asian woman; older.  “I’ll be right back,” whispered the student to my friend, her teacher.  She kneeled down and smiled at the woman.  Her smile alone is a gift.  I’ve seen it myself in the hallways at school.  How bright, I think, that smile must’ve been to this tired woman, seasoned and slapped by a harsh street life, used to feeling invisible.  She handed her the bag and life spread across the woman’s face.  Hat, gloves, snacks.  Such simple things.  The group moved on down the sidewalk.  My friend turned back;  just a last glimpse.  The woman was hungrily shoving the package of crackers in her mouth; one right after the other.

I think of that scene and I feel it in my gut.  She is still out there somewhere, most likely.  I look over at my girl on the couch tonight wrapped in blankets, her belly full, the tap tap tapping of her knitting needles in the quiet of the room.   When we pass out crackers, a stomach is filled for a bit; maybe just enough hope for one more night; staving off despair I know nothing about.   When we pass out crackers,  we hear the wrapper rip open behind us and we see the world different and closer up. I long for that woman to know warmth and soft and fullness.  I pray for that student to carry what she saw with her.  I thank God for that teacher, my friend and her heart, who longs for the deeper things, and took her there to pass out crackers.





Doughnuts in Pretty Little Bags

The girl and I packed up the week and left school today a little tired.  We had a big grocery shop to do for an elderly lady and her husband who have long since found it difficult to maneuver the aisles, their legs heavy and hurting from disease and age.  We’ve been doing that for going on 8 years now.  Eight Christmases we’ve pulled out their decorations from under the stairs, and helped tuck her snowman collection in nooks and crannies.  It feels like my own house, I know it so well.  She makes me taste her homemade cranberry sauce tonight before we go.  She knows I love it and has a small container ready for me to take some with me,  so much more the treasure since my own grandmother isn’t here anymore to make my custard and chocolate meringue pie.

We eat hungry at our favorite Chinese restaurant.  We like it because they give us so much food that we always have a squeaky styrofoam container full of leftovers to take home with us.  We drive home and I always insist that the girl notice.  The sky?  It is one of a kind, we’ll never see it exactly the same again, I tell her and she looks with perspective limited to her age.  I notice, as I get older, that I drink in the sight with a gulp more eager,  keenly aware the fleeting grace gift, that each small glimpse isn’t a given forever.




We come home and put on our new sweat pants, scored free because my friend at work thought to give me a coupon.  They somehow feel softer and cozier because of that.  Earlier last week another friend brought the girl a tiny bag to school, all green and pink and white,   doughnuts from a place called Paradise  just for her for no reason other than because.  These “becauses”, these little bags of paradise and coupons that make things free?   The sunsets from God’s paintbox and chicken fried rice more than enough?  Sorting out groceries and snowmen collections that mean memories to someone else?  These are the currency of blessings.  They wrap my heart up snug, the give and take, the cadence of walking steady when we are loved and love well.  They make the moments unsure of where to stand a little easier to take.  They wipe the sweat of figuring out how to live off our foreheads.

I tap out these words and my phone dings quiet.  It’s a picture of my older girl in her wedding dress fresh from the day’s mail delivery.  I look at it, and remember back to her wondering days when she was a young girl….where will I live?  What will I do?  Who will I marry?  Her answers are beginning to take shape and it snaps and crackles in my heart like fireworks  to hear her voice, incredulous joy at her own good fortune.  I think back to times disappointing to her.  “You watch.  You wait.  You’ll see,” I told her, a lump in my own throat, because I loved her so much.  I put my phone back down, tears catching at the corners of my eyes.

I glance over at the girl, wrapped in her gray and pink blanket, homework on her lap even on a Friday night because her school is important to her. There’s a quiet hum from the fireplace heater.  The washer in the other room rumbles clothes clean as it spins out water for the final spin.  I lay here on my couch thinking about my boys coming home soon for Christmas and how I will make poppy seed muffins because it’s Noah’s favorite….and how I haven’t made them in the two years since he left.

These small things?  They are my currency of grace from a place called Paradise.  And the ruler of it all looks down on me with love.


Constant Like Sunshine




“Every good and perfect gift is from above, come down from the Father of the heavely lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows.” – James 1: 17


I like how Tuesdays are laundry day for the preschool house on the grounds of the school where I work, and every time I walk in to get the bag full of the week’s wipe ups from snack time and painting projects, it’s story time and the kids are gathered round the teacher eager, necks craning to see the pictures as she holds up the book.  I close the door behind me on my way out and I smile at the warm I feel.

I look forward to the sameness of every morning when I wake the girl and she sleepy stumbles past me to her dressing room just off the kitchen, her eyes are slanty closed and she squeaks out “mornin.”  I ask her the questions.  “Sleep well?  Want some coffee?  What are you hungry for?”

I love how my co worker and I move around each other in the school kitchen like a well choreographed musical scene, each of us picking up where the other left off, the cheese cups all filled and put in rows just so, the dishes used and the dishes washed; scrub, rinse, santize, repeat.  I know where things are and I know how to use them, the hum of the place predictable and sure and comforting.

I like how Silas sits at the table in the school store, always first in the door. Erick drops his back pack and heads for the bean bag chairs in the corner, makeshift bed till the bell rings.  Tanner never fails to smile the brightest of smiles,  Emma and her young charge, Griffin, follow close behind.  She yearns to tell me what she’s dealing with and asks for advice.  She listens intently and nods her head and heads down the hall with a hug.  Shane sorts out the candy bowl, Neva never passes the door without coming in just to greet me.  These are the rhythms, the motion of the morning.  It feels familiar.  It feels like home.  I look for them like little beacons, assurances that I’m still on the path.

These “constants” are here for right now.  They’re like candles in the window, little heart smiles.  But next year, next month, next week, tomorrow……people move, kids grow up, clothes get outgrown, opinions shift, presidents get elected, supermoons come and go,  you used to not like sweet potatoes and then one day you try them and turns out, you changed your mind.

My soul longs for constant.  I stare out the window of my cozy sitting room, and look at the suns rays coming in as the day ends and begins to make ready to turn into Wednesday.  The heat lays on my skin and feels like a hug.  This changing world unnerves me sometimes.  I jump from rock to rock in the life puddle and balance myself just so, wanting to stay there.  And then the water washes up and I’m compelled to move on.  It presses on me, this thought that this world isn’t my home, no matter how good it gets, no matter how bad it gets.  It’s not where I will find that constant I feel hungry for.  I know Who is though, and I sing to Him to steady myself when the unsureness sets in.   ” I’m just a passin through.”

The days beat a faster cadence than they used to.  My daughter is a mama now, my granddaughter and her teeth and steps and words and sounds are the focus of much oohs and ahs.  She learns something every day.  My boys are men , the legos stored away and I wait eagerly for special times when they each come back “home” for visits and their deep voices and tall statures still take me by surprise.  I’ll see another girl get married soon, her hand taking hold of the man she’ll see changes with herself and off they’ll launch.  And it’s sunrise and it’s sunset.  And all is well, because He tells me He will still be there,

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you will remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
27     but you are the same, and your years have no end.
28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure;
    their offspring shall be established before you. Ps 102

The Broken Prayer

Father?  You’re still there…..yes?  I sit a little tired, a little worn, the restless angry fight spent.  I’m so broken, God; so messy, so petty and petulant.  Sometimes I’m weak and make choices that spin out tentacles like a crazy light show out of control and they spark and snap.  Sometimes I’m strong and good and walk worthy.  Often I’m wrong, times I am right; then times I am right and wrong.




Truth is, God, I march myself into the courtroom, all puffy and peacock like, and justify myself with spittle flying out the sides of my mouth, my eyebrows raised for effect.  I. Am. Me.  I proclaim.  Here is my evidence.  I scramble for collected grievances; life’s documentation that it is hard and it is confusing and it is long…..no matter how short it is;  Proof that it hurts and I need the purchase order to buy myself the win.

Oh but then?  After my own echo dies down and I lie listless?  My heart hears a hopeful wind breathe gentle.  You’re here.  I can feel You.  Be my lantern, my compass.  I’ve somehow lost my way.


Angels Leave Post It Notes

“Silence is your only claim to wisdom” – Job 13, The Message


Sometimes I have days, chunks of them, when the words in my mind go quiet, almost by command; outside of my own will.  I sit on my lily pad like a wide mouthed frog and occasionally feel a welled up thought rise in my throat and I burp it out, lick my lips and settle myself, shifting to and fro, back onto my lily seat and look around quietly at the world.  And then?  And then there are times when the words have formed a league and bang insistently on the door to be written out.  I can always hear their footsteps before they knock.  I began this piece at 11:15 this morning, sitting in my car in a graveyard.  I felt Him urging me to write, I could feel the “message” forming like an egg that’s being fried in a pan, the white morphing from the clear goo when it’s first cracked.  I shoved my hand blindly in my purse and fished for what felt like pen and paper and wrote out this paragraph on the back of a church bulletin.  And then I got here.  And stopped.  “Wait.  Be silent.”  How odd that I would pulse out words, glad to have my “voice” back and then……come to the end of a sentence and have no idea where to go next.  So.  I got out of my car and walked towards this bench and took up it’s offer and sat.  “Be silent.”



A few days ago, I was worried about my yard.  It’s growing time and with my one boy gone far to South Africa, my other scaling Montana’s mountains and my one here working full time, I felt that creepy uppy thing that gets me most in the middle of the night start in.  I couldn’t sleep because my grass was waving like a prairie, my lawnmower doesn’t work, I have no extra cash to pay for it and no idea what to do about any of it.  Those little things that make a woman alone feel most definitely alone and eat at my peace like little mice.  So, I told God my dilemma.  Two days later I came home to a tiny yellow post it on my door.  “If you need help with your yard or getting your mower started, I can help.”  There was a phone number and a mans’ name.  “Ok.  But God.  Remember?  I don’t have money for this.  And besides.  Who is this man??”  So I ignored it.

Last  night I fell asleep early on my couch.  My girl sat quiet watching a movie when the post it note man showed up.  “Tell your mom I used to cut the grass for the man who lived here for years.  She doesn’t have to worry about paying me.  I just thought she might need help.”  So I called him tonight and told him my story.  Told him that I’d taken it right to my Father, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and asked Him to show me what to do.  “I’m a Christian,” says post it note man.  “I was driving by your house and noticing your grass growing and kept feeling like I was supposed to stop and offer to help.  My pastors’ kids go to your school.  I’ll be there tonight and get your grass taken care of.”

I’ve learned to keep company with being quiet.  Here lately I lean into the silence to listen.  It’s then I am learning wisdom.  It’s then I know better what to say when I speak.  I’ve come to tell you this.  He doesn’t have to show up?  But He always does.  If you’re watching for Him.  Sometimes He leaves His words on post it notes.




Grabbing the Microphone

I picture social media as people sitting at a banquet, a friends’ banquet…..and there’s a microphone being passed around.  It’s my turn…..testing…1, 2, 3….what to post as my status, what to snap with my camera for instagram…..what footprint to leave.  “Hello?  Is this thing on?  Yes?  It is?  Ok, the guys in the sound booth tell me the mic is hot.”  I stand up silent before the crowd and let my eyes rest on the crowd, and then on individuals; for longer than feels comfortable to me.  But I want to weigh in; to see and consider.  I do this in my head, of course, because my kitchen is too small for the 500 + list.  I scan through the names, the stories I know, the people I’d probably have never heard from again, save this platform.  It sits strong on my shoulders, the responsibility to speak real, to resist the urge to appear bigger than life, never faltering, teeth always white, breath always fresh, I’ve -got- this presenting.  Like so many prancing peacocks.

My mind asks itself……..so I’ve got the mic……what would I say if it was the last thing or the only thing I would have the chance to hear reverberate in the air?  Because the reality is, I don’t know if it will be or not.   I start to tap dance all wonky like before the crowd because I heard tell once in a song…”If I can make you laugh, I can make you like me.”  I do so want you to.  I like to make friends and keep them if I can.  I hate goodbyes and distance and endings and misunderstandings hollow in the heart.  I wince seeing people try to high five and miss and walk away bewildered, wondering what went wrong.   So I dance silly to make you smile while I figure out what to say.


This is a dog I used to know.  His eyes always captivated me when he’d come sit silent beside me in the grass while I watched the sun start to burn out for the evening..   Like he knew something.  Like he’d lost something he was wondering about and looking on the horizon for.  Waiting.  Watching.  It always reminded me of us.  We live longing.  Because whether we know it or not, we’re just passing through this place.  We can’t stay.  And the journey rolls like waves of sweet, scratchy, terrifying, placid.  There are the gift moments when everyone we think we’ll ever need is right beside us; a Christmas card snapshot.  There are times when no matter how loud the sound in the room, it’s a deafening silent scream of lonely.  When all is right in our world, there’s a nagging knowledge that it won’t last forever and it scares us a little; the anticipation of change.  But when it’s bad, there’s an unrelenting thread that sews itself into a hope fragment.

I’m suddenly aware that the crowd I’ve been speaking to sits motionless while I hold up my show and tell dog picture and patter on for awhile.  I stop and chew my lip and peer out steady.  I’ve gained my nerve and I don’t feel awkward.  Because I see the same hunger in them that I feel in me.  I stare at the mic in my hand and put it up to my mouth.  “I’ve come to say this.”  Silence.  Echo.  “We’re all bruised and broken.  Go easy on each other, if you can.  If you think you can’t,  if you feel like you want to throw stones, step aside to collect yourself and let your neighbor help you put the rock down.  Because the truth is we all need each other to remind each other to never give up.  And one more thing?  I know this will make some of you want to stop listening?  But the thing is, you are loved with an everlasting love and underneath you are the everlasting arms.  His name is God.  And He’s the reason to never give up. ”

I hear a squawk tinny and shrill.   In my uneasiness, my fear of saying the wrong thing, I thought if I put my mouth up real close to the mic I could hide behind it while I spoke.  That maybe you wouldn’t notice that I’m the biggest hypocrite around, telling you these things.  That I’ve thrown rocks, I’ve wrinkled my dress all up in my fists with unforgiveness welling up in me.  That sometimes I’m not kind and don’t feel kind and don’t wanna be kind.  A few times I’ve felt “better than” and cringed at my arrogance.  Sometimes I’ve actually gotten it right and then toasted myself at how great I’d acted.  Only to drop the glass in my lap.  Worse, though, is that I’m afraid you won’t believe me.

I clear my throat and look down at the mic in my hand.  “I’m gonna ask God to replace the haughty in my eyes with grace light.  To remind me the bill He paid for me, so that I can have the courage to cancel what I think you owe me.  I’m gonna rip the bloody bandage off of old wounds so they can breathe healing; loosen my hand on what I have hold of too tightly to stay my balance.  I’m going to show you my raggamuffin self, in the brightest of light, and tell you sure…….until you lay down for good?  Never give up.”

I pass the microphone on and start to sit down again.  But before I do?  I dance all wonky like…..just to be sure you’re smiling.


Tiny Lighthouse on My Head

If I were a blade of grass on a spring morning, just right before Easter, I’d be this one.  I looked out my window early today and recognized myself and grabbed my beat up, cracked screen phone to go capture it.



I snapped several angles, all bent down in the wet grass and shivered cold in my jammies,  sweater over them quick so I wouldn’t miss the sun ray.  Hurry, I said to myself.  I have to go clean a house today.  No, I answered back to me.  I get to.  I told myself to be quiet, to stop tricking my mind into positive thinking, when I didn’t always feel so positive.  Be real.  Be real, I silently yelled at myself.   All the while, I’m snapping pictures of a single blade of grass, because, for some reason, I care about it.

I closed the door behind me, and went back into my kitchen and rewarmed my coffee for the too many timeth, and sat down to edit the picture.  As I did, I clicked on Instagram and there it was.  A picture.  Better than mine.  Much better.  Because I’m no photographer and I don’t have a real camera and who do I think I am posting anything at all?  For some reason, though, the blade of grass begged my attention and I pulled it up on my screen and stared at it hard.  It was the drop of dew that got to me.  It was the smile of God.  It was the mark His fingerprint had left on it; on me.  I decided to string words together and hang them up around the picture.  To decorate it with what He’d whispered to me.  Months have come and gone in my life; months of learning that to be not chosen by someone or for something?  Is to be hurt.  To be hurt?  Is to be alive.  To be alive?  Means purpose.  And I, in this sea of grass world, still have a dew drop on my head that He’s put there and His light has chosen me, to bounce off of me,  His reflection.  It’s not at the expense of others.  But for them, with them.  It’s a tiny lighthouse, giving me just enough light, the light I need for the moment to trust Him for the light I’ll need for the next moment.  And in the process, it creates a circle of light for the grass around me.

Today I will go to someone’s house and kneel to clean around their toilet because their legs don’t work so well anymore and they can’t.  I will shop for their groceries because I am able to do so without a walker.  I do it for pay so I am not a saint.  But I recognize His provision for me, His provision for them by layering our lives over one another.   I will come home and shower in clean water and put on something pretty and sit beside a young man and his family from school that have sown into me and my girl.  They invited us to come sing with them; to celebrate what’s been done for us.  To be reminded.  Afterwards, I will go to my school and dust off where invisible dirt has landed, vacuum up little moons of white paper that have fallen out of hold punchers all week.  I’ll take a walk with my girl in the park nearby.  Probably take another picture or two with my silly little phone.  Because He put that joy in me that notices His world.

And through it all, I will need to be reminded, to constantly be prodded, to not give up or give in.  Because I am so prone to wilt, to bruise, to gasp tired.  That’s why.  That is why this picture captured me.  Because sometimes that dew  is tears cried private and those rays warm my feet to take the next step.  That…it’s not all bad to be a single blade of grass at the base of a toilet.  It may be that’s exactly where He’s shining on me.

The Backs of People at Soccer Games

It’s been a whirlwind of a few weeks in our lives here in our small Kentucky town.  The girl has been in a school play; her first since we left homeschool land and came into private school world.  Lots of long days and longer nights practicing and perfecting.  The Music Man songs still rattle around in our brains.



Not only was my girl in the play?  But my dear friend in charge of directing decided to put me in charge of helping one of the  main characters with costume changes;  a young lady I’d only met briefly. I absolutely adored her! To say the least, when you’re standing just offstage, in the dark, with necklaces wrapped around your neck, hats on your head and billows of skirts and blouses to yank off and put back on in a minute’s time…….you get to know someone better….or at the least, you find yourself laughing over upside down skirts and you gesture wildly and whisper frantically in british accents to each other for no reason until you’re fairly sure your actor is appropriately dressed and you send her back onstage.  And when you have down time?  You get into a bit of mischief yourself.



I was worn pastey thin by the last of the five performances.  I sat and stared into space during the down time because I’d run clean out of personality.   I always notice, at times when you go behind the curtain, that you see the backside of life, the frayed threads.  There’s something sanitary about staying in the bleachers.  You don’t get germs that way and everyone is nicey nice.  When you actually venture close enough to finally pay attention to the man behind the curtain….that’s when things get dicey.  Turns out we get on each other’s nerves, we don’t all fold the towels the same way, we get tired and cranky and whispery behind backsies.  We rush by someone going slower.  We generally show ourselves fallible.  We love.  We just do it messy and outside the lines.  Sometimes we hurt without meaning to.  Sometimes we very much mean to.

So I crawled into bed at the end of that last night of the play, all full of theater analogies, tired beyond tired, rehearsing the day.  Tired makes the world bigger and I cried for no discernible reason; at least ones I couldn’t slap a label on;  except that I was tired and thinking about how fast life sneaks things in on you when you were busy clapping politely in the bleachers.   After the last of the costumes had been hung up and the doors slammed hollow with people leaving; the ending of something making me wince, I’d walked to my car, remembering what most of these young actors weren’t old enough to forget.  That things change irreversibly, sometimes when you don’t notice, until one day you look back and realize you’d done something for the last time and hadn’t known it would be.

I’d made a promise earlier that week to young boys at school that I’d come and watch them kick and tumble and score all the way down the field and back that night after the play.   It was their last indoor game, a rite of passage in their 12 year old soccer world for this season.  I walked toward the bleachers, the second set I’d seen that day,  and there I saw the back of someone I used to know, whose table I’d shared meals on,  whose couch I’d sat on and listened as tears fell.  The thing is, the last time?  I hadn’t known it would be; until time came in and went out tide like and one day I’d realized.  I found my place on the bleachers and didn’t speak.  Or look back.  Just forward, eyes locked on the field.  Jagged endings make the air feel strange and dissonant and you stay behind the curtain, not remembering your lines.  So you don’t say anything.

It lay on my heart heavy like a cold greasy egg this morning when I woke up.  I spit out bits and pieces to my friend; this script we’re sometimes handed in a language we can’t hardly read, the stage blocking making me resentful and edgy. I wanted things to be hard for this person whose back I’d stared at the night before.  I wanted plays to begin and not come to an ending that would change things forever.  I struggled to be all in the day and scrolled aimlessly through internet stories to distract myself.  Then I read this from a man who’d just lost his wife two weeks past.  He recalls the last few days.

“Joey gathered her family together around her and she said goodbye to each of them… to her mother and father and her three sisters.  There were lots of tears as she explained to each one how much she loved them and that she was going to be going home soon.  That her time here was done and she was going to go to sleep soon.  And then she asked me to bring our baby in.  And so… I set our little Indy on Joey’s lap and we all cried with my wife as she told her how much her mama loved her and, “…you be a big girl for your papa… and that mama will be watching over you”.  And then she pulled Indiana up and she kissed her.

One last kiss.”



I needed to forgive endings that come; forgive jagged edges and unapproved scripts.  I had to come to terms with backstage behavior and frayed life threads; to learn  how to shake hands with the man behind the curtain.  I needed to decide not to settle on bleacher seats just to stay comfortable when the play got messy.   I had to figure out a way to stop at backs turned and extend the far reach of grace.  The time is coming when it will be the last time unaware.  I don’t want to cringe.


Blurry Intentions



See that tree there?  All blurry and leaning to one side rained on soggy and heavy?  That’d be me after today.  All joy living that I blogged about this morning?  Drained out of my flat this afternoon.  I was plum tired physically.  That made the filter for interactions sticky and muddy and they got caught and pulled at my head and my heart till they were both frayed.  I found myself disappointed in the actions of some, frustrated with others, sluggish in my spirit and flustered at the wind.  I just wanted to go home and sleep, mainly.

My friend and I, we talked cartoon animated early this morning before it all began.  We were eager to live this joy, to find out what it looked like on us, how our Creator meant for us to wear it and walk it out.  We listened and understood each other, barely using words and then walked into the ring to duke out life.  That’s where I found myself picking up the weights and flexing my pitiful muscles; the “love keeps no record of wrongs, does not take offense easily, sees the best in others, bears up, fadeless under all circumstances….”; those muscles.  Truth be told, they strained stringy and stretched out.  “You look like you’re not in a very good mood,” came the young voice of one in the school store.  It rubbed like a carpet burn.   “Yeah.  No.  No, I guess not.  I’m just tired.”  But I saw the distance it created written on their face.  They’d gotten used to my smile and the bin was empty today.

I sat parked in my car and looked out the windshield at this water color tree and snapped a picture quick.  How quickly expectations,  small irritations, being human can gouge at our beginning of the day blank slate.  I hum to myself words that resonate with me:

So take up what we’ve been given
Welcome the edge of our days
Hemmed in by sunrise and sunset
By our youth and by our age
Thank God for our dependence
Here’s to our chasm of need
And how it binds us together
In faith and vulnerability

This chasm of need, this vulnerable weakness that binds us to each other and reminds us we’re just us, dependent on our God for breath and grace with each other and rest that makes it possible to smile when I feel like a wet tree.

Joy Train…..Where Honey Meets Sunshine



Last night, just before I pulled the chain on the antique lamp just above my head my friend pushed a question through the airwaves at me.  It wandered through the catacombs of my brain while I slept and nudged me awake early, still perched.  “How is one to focus on being truly joyful in life when others say that ones life is to be localized? To be completely focused on “the mission” God has given all of us?”  I answered quick off my head and then fell asleep.  When I woke up and looked around the dark room, I found the question looking at me.  And then I asked myself, “What does localized mean?”  But first, coffee.

“Limit, restrict, confine, contain, concentrate, circumscribe.”  That sounded heavy, harsh, burdensome.  No playing in puddles in the rain.  I needed more coffee.  Circumscribe?  I came back to my computer, steaming coffee rising in my face.  “To draw a figure around another, touching it at points, but not cutting it.”  Ah, there it was.  There came the answer flooding into my mind.   If we are “localized”….we need to determine what we are localized for.

could it be…that we are to confine ourselves to joyful living?
that the only limit on that joy would be that which would blaspheme the work the Spirit has done in you?
that joy alone, as your springboard for living, draws people to you and thus to Him?
that true joyfullness, which is born out of awareness of brokenness and then rescue is indeed “localized living”?
I want three things from you, I told my friend, three things that spawn circles of joy in you.  Mine are when sunshine hits honey; when a total stranger smiles back at me when I’ve started the process; the fact that my body produces a really good poop, without a colostomy bag.  
This “circumscribe” word.  This captivates me.  To reach out with our joy circles, to touch one another, but not cut, ah…..there it is.  There is that holy, localized, make a difference living that my Rescuer of my soul “confines” me to, frees me to.   May your joy circles ripple out unceasing today.
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