Batter Up

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I
love
remembering
my
very
young
granddaughter’s
softball
games
where
small
bodies
would
wander
the
field
oblivious
to
the
rules
having
no
idea
where
the
ball
might
be
no
particular
personal
responsibility
to
the
game.

But
the
team
always
wanted
to
know
who
won.

Our present condition comes to mind.
Just bigger and older players.

jackieshields
09.21.17

Atoms

do you ever
want to make
yourself
smaller?

become less
engaged
to be more
engaged?

distill feelings
to a core
that excludes
everything but
love?

dance without
moving
to music
unborn?

allow space only
for the
beloved?

leave the world
to falter
until love
finds its
home.

jackieshields
09.18.17

Perspective of distance

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This photo, along with those that blared red,  brought us all to our knees! I have tried to put perspective to what it felt like for the many of us who had loved ones and friends in harm’s way. We knew we couldn’t possibly know how the experience felt first hand….we couldn’t feel the same fear, the same uncertainty, the same camaraderie that offers such solace and comfort. We couldn’t know the trust that is built, house by house, neighborhood by neighborhood, county by county.  Shared resources aren’t bound by usual definitions, rather a commitment to all rather than few.

For our family, we have watched our brother Bill and his family in Texas weather Hurricane Harvey…..closely followed by sister Laura and her family doing the same near Tampa with Hurricane Irma.

It has been like watching a train barrel down the tracks, our families stalled at a crossing gate! Will they make it out in time? Will the train brake in time? What can we do?

At first blush, I would say we can do nothing! We are completely helpless on dry land with sunny skies above while they wait for an event out of their control! They prepare, they gather at a communion table only they can know.

Our ardent prayers provide a way of communicating our love, both for the Christ who loves us and the families far away. Our texts and emails affirm a family connection that offers another form of communion, though many miles apart. Our feelings of helplessness diminish, only to roar back when the time arrives…..when we know the wind is blowing, the rain is relentless, when darkness seems very long! At midnight Sunday night, TV blaring, we can barely breathe for the worry! Tears of relief finally sent us to bed!

It is good to be on this side of Harvey and Irma…..safe family members in homes with power, lives getting back on track. They are grateful beyond measure. We are, too.

So now we remain called to pray for those not so fortunate….those without a home, or a flooded home, those whose way of life will never return, those with no power, those with few resources, those who see no hope this day. They need a body of prayer that covers them. They need our help in the ways we can provide. They need “compassion fatigue” to be replaced with long term compassion and care.

They need us to be their neighbors, regardless of where we live.

 

 

 

 

 

Refuel…..then pray.

 

I was privileged to attend the first in a series of community building evenings at Brentwood United Methodist Church and grateful my friend Morgan Stafford agreed to attend with me! These evenings, designated as “Refuel” are aptly named! Starting with dinner at a round table……new friends, old friends….afforded an opportunity for sharing a meal and sharing an experience. I am convinced God loves to hear our stories!

Pastor Allison Gossett set the evening’s tone…and challenge…..by reminding us of Jeremiah’s words…..his struggles…..his call….his obedience! So there comes the first implied challenge…..go home and reacquaint yourself with this man of God! So I did. As Allison so well articulated, this guy had a tough time! But he kept trying! My study Bible includes these words in the introduction to Jeremiah: “Regardless of opposition and personal cost, Jeremiah courageosly and faithfully proclaimed the word of God.”

Enter Dr. Rip Patton, a Freedom Rider during the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1950’s, 1960’s. I have been honored to hear Dr Patton before when he participated in a previous series at our church. There are simply no words to aptly describe this humble and faithful man! As we were asked to consider how we live into our faith, we hear how he chose to do that very thing. “Chose” may not be at all accurate…..like Jeremiah he was called and couldn’t say no! He didn’t say no! He lived into his faith, and still does, by engaging to change the fabric of society using non violent discourse   and strategic organizing…..but all based on the teachings of Jesus. He brings this history to life. He, too, “courageously and faithfully proclaimed the word of God.”

Refuel? Certainly.

As I walked to my car, I glanced up……to the cross that reaches high in the sky atop our church building. I could only wonder what it calls the rest of us to do….to make tomorrow different.

jackieshields                                                                                                                        09.06.17