One Wonderful Kindness

Jesus calls us to be light. Not to be liked.

The two words may sound the same, and I’ve done my fair share of confusing the two as I seek to be liked light in my community, but they are different. This side of Glory, they are so very different.

Those of us who long to be more like Jesus and less like us, are also called to a higher standard of caring for one another. Both the other that we know, identify with, and like, as well as the other that we don’t.

I come a little late to this discussion, but I’ve been giving The Pool Party incident a lot of thought. As I’ve wrestled with strong feelings about both sides of the story as it was initially presented in the media, I realized what it comes down to, for me. This is a story about the depth of our willingness to forgive each other and then pursue reconciliation.

And smack-dab In the middle of this whole news story, I find myself faced with the opportunity to, as a fellow writer I deeply admire recently wrote, “stay at the table”. As I read this article by Deidre, over at the Washington Post, I was reminded that we are invited to spread the Good News that Jesus came to restore.

By living that way.

By speaking that way.

And every single time we choose to love, by not engaging in an argument over who is on the right side of fence, and why, Love wins. Each time we lock eyes with the human on the other side of the table and stay in it, determined to find where our humanity intersects with theirs, Love wins.

Call me an optimist, but, I want Love to win.

Ultimately, of course, it does.

But, I’d like to see it win a few times here on this side of Glory, too.

On this side of the fence.

So, with each new conversation about who was where they shouldn’t have been, and when, or who should teach respect and who should learn it, I choose Love.

I choose to remember how many times I made choices that were so very wrong. Yet someone, somewhere, showed me kindness anyway. I choose to recall the times I should have been in control, but wasn’t, and was given grace.

And still are.

I choose to remember that it doesn’t have to be a “they’re wrong” or “we’re right” kind of discussion. It could be, it should be a discussion about how we can love one another better. It can be another golden opportunity to show wonderful kindness, much like we have been shown.

Not a dismissal of sin.

Not an ignorance of peril.

Not a diss of this or that or them.

But Love. And grace.

Like we first understood it, the first time grace was poured out over us and our own mess.

I might not understand the daily perils of being part of this group or that organization, but I surely do know that God’s grace is one wonderful kindness. I’ve experienced it a time or a thousand.

Have you?

One_Wonderful_Kindness_Missindeedy

Oh God…let me pass on your wonderful kindness to another.

Help us all to pass it on, one to another.

Yes indeedy.

A Different Kind of Twitter Party

Within one week of moving into the “new house”, five years ago, I received an early morning wake-up call.

I detest early morning wake-up calls.

This particular “howdy” came at 4:00 in the morning.

That’s not even morning time, people!

It hailed from the birds (and I can only assume there were one hundred and seventy-two of them from the cacophony they made) all perched on the one branch hanging closest to my bedroom window.

Sweetman, bless his heart, was sawing logs.

That’s snoring, for you uninitiated.

But these birds, they were determined to have an all-out twitter party. Right outside my bedroom window. I could not, no matter how hard I tried, fall back to sleep with All The Tweeting.

I envisioned a Lookout Bird peeking in my blinds for signs that I was nodding off.

“Twitter… NOW!” I imagined it saying to his tweety peeps.

And they did. Oh, how they did!

For hours.

This same party happens every year around the same time of year.

As in, now.

So, last night…

“I have children to mother, you birds!”

They were unfazed.

I rattled the window.

Ah, that stopped them!

For five seconds.

I decided that a change of venue might lure me back to sleep. So, I tip-toed downstairs and read a Good Word. I wrote a few not-so-good words. I prayed some desperate-for-sleep words.

No sleep.

I trudged back up the stairs hoping, praying, that the dratted Twitter Party was over.

Alas, it was not.

So, I decided to make a game of it by giving each different tweeter a name.

Sarge was the most vocal. And it may well have been a female, because I know in this house…

Sweetpea was melodic. I didn’t mind her so much.

Doodle seemed to have trouble staying with a train of tweet. I feel ya, birdie.

Brutus gave loud quick calls in the midst of all the twittering. Maybe he was the flock’s governing official?

On and on it went. It was quite the twitter party, only, one I had no desire to be at.

And then, finally, somewhere in the midst of Doodle and Sweetpea’s duet, I fell asleep.

bird_on_wire_missindeedy

Only to wake up to my sweetchildren announcing, “Mama! Wake up! The birds are singing.”

Indeed.

After five years, I’ve finally gotten smart. For, today, I asked Mr. Google, “How do I scare away unwanted birds?”  He was not very helpful, as most of the advice provided involved finding an acceptable noise to drown out the singing. Useless because 1) I already use a box fan for sound and 2) Snore-a-saurus is in the bed next to me.

Wading through talk of territorial males and migratory bird law, I was able to uncross my eyes long enough to stumble across a possible solution.

If you need me, I’ll be searching for bird netting. And stringing it across every tree in my front yard.

And, if you don’t hear from me for a couple of days?

It worked.

 

One Thing Better Than High Hair

I attended a rockin’ Twitter party last night.  It was a happy hour filled with flying fingers, cracked jokes, and community building. I was surrounded by a couple dozen amazing women, many of whom I am able to call “Friend”.

And, it was grace.

“The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you.”

– Frederick Buechner

Because, the party wouldn’t have been complete without me.

Without me?

Yes!

And it’s not complete without you, either.

It took me twenty some-odd years to own that.

And, my season of High Hair ushered that lesson in.

One of the most painful memories I have, is of being labeled an outcast by a group of middle school girls that I thought were my best friends.

I could say it was because I developed physically before they did and they were jealous. Maybe. It’s possible that they were acting out of a need to have control over some part of their out-of-control lives. Beauty wasn’t my friend back then; and that didn’t do me any favors, either.

I might never know why they shunned me as they did.

What I do know is that as a tender 12 year old reed, it broke me.

And, I took my broken pieces and receded into the safety of my tomboyish ways. Hunting and fishing with Ahab, skateboarding with Brother, keeping my face in the pool and away from the eyes of those who sought to bore holes into my heart. Those were my survival techniques.

And I surely did survive.

But God wanted me to see Him. And He wanted me to do more than survive.

high_hair_missindeedy

So, He sent Grace striding into my life, all high hair and hairspray, frosted lips and Northern accent. That unmerited favor modeled a grace for my fragility. That one longed-for friendship did so very much to repair some of the damage done to my heart.

God tenderly repaired this broken reed and set it straight.

I learned a beautiful lesson that year: sometimes Grace comes through people. And He reminds you that what happened then doesn’t matter near as much as what you allow to happen now. It pours over you and into you and shows you that you are not alone, that you are loved, and that the pain of the past does not have to define your future.

Indeed! While Beauty and I never did make amends, Grace and I?

We’ve become BFF’s.

Has grace ever found you in friendship? Would you share here?

31days_of_grace_button_missindeedy

This is post #1 in my 31 Days of Grace series. The Nester is hosting her annual 31 Days of Writing. If you’d like to check out one of the thousands of unique contributions, click here. You can find my introduction post here.