Outside Looking In

Any book that references Dairy Queen is a book I’m going to love. And it was certainly true for The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton. 

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Oh Dally, Pony, Sodapop, Darry… your names, alone, slay me. I’ve been on the outside looking in. Plenty.

And writing really has been the catharsis to the angst that brings.

It was for Ponyboy, too.  “Stay gold,” Pony.

There were quotes upon quotes that moved me in this story of East side greasers versus West side Socs.

“Nothing sparkly can stay.”  Now, that one was a lie. As a parent, I now know that glitter can stay. Glitter ALWAYS stays.

Hinton packed a ton of wisdom into this short novel about outsiders looking in. “There isn’t any real good reason for fighting except self-defense,” is there?

But his insights into our common humanity, well… even in High School, I was desperately seeking the commonalities.

“It seemed funny to me that the sunset she saw from her patio and the one I saw from the back steps was the same one. Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren’t so different. We saw the same sunset.”

As years become decades, I’ve realized how beautiful it can be to acknowledge that we all see the same sunset. There is comfort to be found in that, isn’t there?

Yes indeedy.

Only a handful of days remain. If you’ve missed any of the posts in my Best Books Ever series, click the button below. I am writing these as part of the Write 31 Days Challenge.

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The Gold of Repair

Nourishment comes in many forms. For the body, we can all point to the brilliant spectrum of colors that we should be eating from. For the soul, though, a different kind of care and feeding are required. We sometimes seek the physical to fill the spiritual, and find that we never quite feel satisfied. On the other hand, the line between filled and overflowing can sometimes be blurred. And it is good.

One of the Internet homes that I visit is called Be Small Studios. Although her artwork originally drew me to her site, it was her words, though written infrequently, that held me captive. And, although this post of Annie’s was written back in April, it is one that I have bookmarked to read over and over.

Lately, I’ve been thinking on the ancient Japanese practice of Kintsugi and wondering how much more beautiful the cracks that only Jesus can repair.

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When others, who watched us shatter into a hundred pieces over the affair, the death, or any other number of life-altering events – when they see that we are restored, what must they think?

Do they see the grace in the golden overlay?

Almost like a wounded animal, I find myself hunching over my cracked places and trying my best to hide them. Don’t we all turn our hurt places away, even just a bit, when others come too near to them?

Then, someone comes along, modeling Jesus with their kindness and gentleness, grace and compassion, and attempts to bind that cracked place. I find my soul deeply nourished in the process. Even just the sitting with me, the not-leaving-even-though-they-see, is taken in as much-needed sustenance.

Afterwards, I find myself treating those places, that have been bound up, with extra care. Knowing that I’m cared for, despite my crack-pot ways, seeing that there are others willing to stand next to me as they cup their hands under All The Leaking…that is the very best goodness for my soul.

God, working through the prayers and ministering shoulders and softest touches and endless hand-offs of tissues, shows me that He will make beautiful the cracked places.  And watching others go through bitter battles that they never wanted in the first place – seeing how Jesus can, and will, woo a hardened heart back to Him in the midst of it… that is like seeing the gold of repair melted down and drizzled out.

I look for the cracks in others, a little more intently, now. Certainly, I recognize them far easier. Some of those little fissures zig and zag almost exactly the same way some of my own do.

And, I long to come alongside, gently, with my cracks outward facing. Exposed. So that they can see. How I long for them see how The Only One Who Can has repaired some of my own broken places!

With restoration comes the ability to be filled and nourished. Sometimes, even, full to overflowing! With goodness and mercy spilling over the sides and spreading all over that gold of repair.

What grace!