Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ode To Morgan

Morgan packed her bags for college today. I have no complaints. I will be living with her. But because we've been so focused on the good we expect from the next four years, we weren't realizing what "else" it meant for us. 

it dawned on EACH of us as we were literally walking out the front door to drive her to college that her lifelong "home" will never be the same. Life will move on while she's away; decor, schedules, diet, traditions, routines. NOTHING will be identical when she comes home. We boo-hoo'd separately and sniffled a little together. I'm having a bit of a harder time pulling myself together than she is though.

Here's my very pitiful public therapy in the form of poetry:

From the moment I found you in my womb
I planned for you to be gone.
My arms held your body
But my lungs held my breath
Just newborn
But I knew you'd be gone

I stiffened my lip as we parted a kiss
I KNEW you'd be gone
But you came home well-rested
From the nap you had taken
We had dinner, and snuggled at home

Off to camps with kids
Independent and gone
I've known it all along
But I picked you up tired
And hoarse after choir
And drove you back to our home reinspired

Graduation came and down the aisle you went
But this time I knew the drill
They would change your tassel
But it was no big hassle
Because you ALWAYS came home to my thrill

Then it happened so suddenly
It took me by surprise
I'd been planning for this day
But I didn't realize
It was really IT
THAT time had come
When you packed your bag
And it wasn't psyche or fun

Today was the day
I had planned for so long
But not well enough
And it stopped my song

The breath that I held
When you were born
To not get too attached
To give you freedom to soar
The breath poured from my eyes
In the form of rain
And the life I've been in
Transformed into pain

My baby is gone!
It's every mom's fear
But to snatch you from this would be love insincere
It's what you were made for 
It's why we worked hard 
To make you ready
To take the world by storm

Know this, Grown Girl
Every tear I cry
Is a unique memory
That we made in our lives
Every book we read
Every palette for a bed
Every swing set we flew
Every cake candle we blew

These thoughts give me peace
They build my hopes 
They remind life is precious
And we had it better than most

I will cherish every moment
Of togetherness we've spent

My baby is gone
But you come home a friend

Friday, August 7, 2015

Mind Your Spotlight

I have grown up in the most beautiful environment on earth; The Church.

In this place liars, thieves, addicts, bodily ailments, personality disorders, successes, failures, races of the entire globe; we are ALL the same in that each of us stands free and able to lift the praises of our King of kings. The only thing that matters in a church service is what's happening in the present. If in the present moment we are all lifting God's name on high, all celebrating the power of His mercy, all acknowledging His grace, then literally NOTHING else about the person beside us matters. 

Nothing else matters. 

Can you comprehend how POWERFUL that is? That a prostitute can lift their hands to bless God beside a virgin, their prostitution not being an issue, is HUGE! That a thief can stand beside the hardworking laborer without their thievery being recognized is REMARKABLE! On & on these black and white comparisons can go. Only its not actually "black and white" in His presence. In His presence, it's JUST HIM! And there are NO COMPARISONS! Who we are, or have been can receive no recognition. Neither our goodness, nor our badness gets a spotlight. 

The moment we turn the spotlight to display our own righteousness, only the reality of our personal filthy rags will be seen by all. And such awareness pollutes the atmosphere. The moment we turn the spotlight to display the filthiness of someone else in the building; the system sparks, and glitches, and on display is... OUR OWN DISGUSTING FILTHY RAGS.

One's efforts to point out someone else's shame will ALWAYS backfire to spotlight their own. Lowering our gaze to confront or fight battles across the aisle defiles the sanctity of the environment. He can't breathe in such an unmerciful, vengeful place. He will either remove His presence, or remove the offender. Because the only thing "better" about a virgin than a prostitute is her personal memories not being filled with shame. And the only thing "better" about the laborer than the thief is his self-awareness not being degraded. My pastor always reminds us, "We're not better. We're just better-off."

The consequence of sin is heavy; our memory never turns off. Even after the blood covers, the memory is still intact. And memories are painful enough. But in the church, no one human is more worthy of God's protection, defense, and love than another. Memories aren't on display. Only HE can be on display. We are all equally forgiven in repentance. 

Must we repent? Of course. But God and the voice of a pastor will call to repentance. The rest of us must focus on delighting in the goodness, mercy, and majesty of God. Keep the spotlight of our eyes lifted to Him.

Never mess with the spotlight system in the church. The direction of our spotlights is what keeps us safe and protected. They are perfectly turned to illuminate His glory, His mercy, His grace. The love He has for us beams back flawless enlightenment for life.

And we DANCE in His glory!