Jesus and The Barefooted Man

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Jesus and The Barefooted Man

In the sixties she sat on red-velvet and stared at dead mink eyes
Staring back at her while she listened to the sermon
Teased hair, hats and some white gloves, confetti sprinkled among the faithful
The South, the  Methodists,
The pearls, sprinkled on a few
Folks listening or planning lunch at the Country Club later
Prime rib or fried chicken, thousand island or blue cheese, sweet tea or sweet tea

And now she wonders about the man with no shoes

He told me the day he went to the Episcopal church without me
I cocked my head and tried to get a visual on the thought
We walked to church a few Sundays later, together down a tree- lined street dripping with moss
On more than a few, old oaks
Passed him, smiling big, he not us
You’re going the wrong way aren’t you?
Headed away from church
He not us
Yeah, going to teach Sunday school
Cheshire cat grin on the barefooted man

And that was the man with no shoes
Seen through the eyes of of the lady who wears the pearls, sometimes
And we sat and rocked and smacked some jaws and asked some questions
Later with folks on the porch
Because this is our sometime home
Who was that man in the barefeet
We asked

And there were opinions and there were things said
And it is still the South
And that is good not bad, but true
Really, we all have a story
And this was an old Episcopal church, after all

Suits and ties, after all

The more I thought
And wondered and took myself down to the deep soul places
I had to dream and cry out to myself
Come Lord Jesus and teach us
Now, how to love all the barefooted souls
Who  sit among the mink and pearls

Show us how to love like you
And smile like we are all barefoot
Walking in the wrong direction

Heck, I think every man Jesus touched
Back in the dusty sandal days was barefooted
Walking

I want to walk beside
And wash and love

All the feet
And know the name of the barefooted man

I loathe labels
But I do love a Cheshire cat grin on a barefooted- man running after Jesus
In the “wrong” direction.

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Two Tear Types – A Week In The Life of A Mother and Daughter

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The stories of our lives. They are lovely in the living, lovely in the telling. And the re-telling sends them out to those who want to capture hope, redemption, love from the lives of co-travellers. We all walk into these story webs, hold on to some, shake some off, release their glistening parts to others.

Your story gives me hope and gives me pause. I gather fragments of redemption when you tell me where you were and where you are. How you love and how you live.

So when I tell you mine that is my hope unfurled before you. That you would hold a remnant of my life. Place it by your ear as a child cups a shell to hear the sea whisper a haunting call, the mystery of the sea of life, just held. Just hold.

We remember better when we record. There are fragile, tender moments that feel like water in our hands. They evaporate but we extend their living by freezing frames, holding on in a form that remains a little longer, life extension in remembering. And tears they hold and record the tender places, drop by salty drop. As they roll.

We sat in the pew on Friday, upright rigid waiting to mourn in harmony. The shoulders of our rock between us. We the mother daughter bookends. And she simply could not stop the tears from rolling fast and long, slow and steady, changing speeds as the funeral moved through stages of remembering. She wept and we could not catch her tears fast enough, her father and I. The stockpile of kleenex was no match for the arsenal of tears. The tears won today. As they should. This was the day for weeping and mourning. So she did. The cold air marched in as she wept. The winter battling spring can be a good companion for a crying girl. Weather matching moods.

The preacher preached of down here and up there, his words wrapped healing round the little chapel, old, historic holding all the mourning as day turned to dusk. But grief can heal. And people heal. And don’t we come together over loss in a way that only God could orchestrate. That though we break we break together and that begins the glueing back together. Maybe even stronger. A down here mystery. The up there realms are dancing in glory. Only if they like to dance. No forced marches there, after all. But yes, the broken whole and yes, the captives free, and yes the tears are dried.

And only hours later when a momma thinks that all the tears have been harvested in this season there are more. And they are rare as precious diamonds from her eyes, falling, running down her soft young cheek. A man may be of few words, she this girl, a lady of few tears.

So when they flow they are precious in their rarity. Infrequent, they send love notes, clues from her heart.

In the mother daughter mystery that started in the womb of reading clues and cracking codes of emotion sent out by child, morse-code tapping in the tears. I am there to translate.

Saturday’s tears are of a new variety. And each one drips like liquid gold. We nestle around to hear the man tell his Jesus story. Big and burly headed to the NFL. He now lives a different story refined by the tender touch of the Nazarene.

She sends out messages in her tears. Of how her heart is hearing life around her. Each one holds a wet penned-note. Some dry before I can break the seal, read the letters from her soul. But that she lets them roll, communicating in the dripping wet is golden. I’d catch each one if I could.

But up there is a tear catcher. And I trust Him to hold them because I am a leaky broken sieve.

And after all. He has been the parent of the crying chid. The Son of Man and Son of God has cried out from the cross-bars of a wooden cross. So I trust The Catcher of All Tears to catch hers and mine. To hold the ones born of joy and born of pain. Bearing clues to love and life and death. Of what can spring forth from the springs of joy and springs of sadness.

Each caught triumphantly by the Father of The Son of Man. Who captures by Him every tear. Not one is missed, not one slips by.

There are two times twenty types of tears, really or even more. Each wet one a clue to more of you and more of me. And I know well the holders back, the holding on who fight with every fiber not to let one roll. To remain high and dry, but cry heaving heavy deep inside.

Be a catcher of the tears down here with me. And leave the ones that we can’t catch to Him who reigns up there. The Comforter, The Healer, the dryer of all tears.

But mother, daughter, father, brother, look for the tears of joy, tears of sorrow in your day. Rejoice with those rejoicing, grieve with those grieving. And wipe the tears with me of those who remain with us down here.

And I shall weep when I survey the wondrous cross and look to it in times of hurt with gratitude. The Restorer of All Brokenness sacrificed for us.

Catch with me two types of tears.

joining sweet dear Laura.

The Big Yellow Metaphor

{This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on  my experiences on a wild and wonderful journey. A big colorful artful adventure, one  from New York to South Carolina as part of a team on The Art Bus Project roadtrip.}

Audrey. And others. They were my teachers.

I just went to summer school. And my classroom was a big yellow school bus.

The bus, my classroom screams loudly the lessons over the din of heavy black tires on I-95. Yells out over hot highway with her yellow zippered lines marking the lessons. Shouts Truth over the swoosh of passing eighteen wheelers in the fast lane and the screech of breaks on near missed turns. Through tolls and toils she lays out the lesson plan to her student held captive within the yellow walls.

My team members on The Art Bus Project, part of the teaching staff. I a student, a sponge soaking in the lessons. Some hard. All good. Life teaches well along the way. In the messy living.

The old, big, gas-guzzling, loud and sometimes hot classroom is a good teacher too.

When God calls us into ministry He is good to change us. And challenge us.And He is wise to teach those he taps . To instruct those whom he woos to come along for the ride. Moving us from Point A to Point B, never leaving us where we were found by Him. Transforming lives with Grace. Mercy moving us along. Increments of Truth and more of Him, measurements of movement.

And He is a gentle teacher. Loving His children and wisely never leaving His rag tag band, His co-laborers, His students of Grace unchanged. He lovingly shapes. He gingerly molds. We show up in a place carrying the now of what we know on our backs like a Patagonian hiker ready for a trek. He adds whats important, filling the pack with more of Him.  The weight of the important strengthens the sojourner’s back. Shoulders stronger, legs less wobbly, back braced for carrying the significant.

We show up ill-prepared. He refines the red clay of the soul on the spinning potter’s wheel.

And He uses His people in a beautiful way. There is no circumstance on the journey that He has not known. There are no combinations of facts or missing pieces which leave Him caught off guard or suprised.

So when I say yes and I show up He tilts the lense and sharpens the perspective. Divine fingers wipe the fog, remove the smudge on the window to the world. And over the shoulder on the looking back, He speaks. In the ear of the rewinding mind, He teachess.

And He takes one little, two little , three little travellers and more and binds them together over the bumps, through the wrong turns, past the monuments, through the dark tunnels, past the missed stops, and onward  on the road of learning.

The one about Him. And the one about us. And the one about the others along the way. The ones with the hurt and the pain. The ones with no one to listen and no one to care.

The weary woman on the way home, eyes blurred from hours in the office. The mom with a whispering heart, bruised by circumstances. The tender recovering soul who in her young life as a mother to two is now a widow and hurting. But aren’t we all.  And who doesn’t.

The eager child with the can of spray paint, eager to find a place to write and express. His name,his identity on the black asphalt, on the sides of the yellow walls. He teaches to listen and look for signs. They have a voice. They want to speak. They want to shout.

They all have a story to tell.

And we would do well to listen.

And we would be more like Him if we did.

{Counting gifts today with Ann over at A Holy Experience dot com. And linking up here at the Extraordinary Ordinary and here with Michelle and also with these two ladies here and here}

* the gift, possibly a first and a last, but hoping not, a mission trip with my daughter

*watching her serve, use her gifts and leave childish ways behind….way behind

*watching my daughter grow more and more into the woman God has purposed her to be

*meeting a freight container full of new friends this week, well I am prone to hyperbole

*seeing new places, exploring new corners, falling in love with the art of discovery all over again.

*regaining my sense of adventure and inquiry

* Asking and accepting the privilege to pray for two women, God grant me faithfulness to pray faithfully and diligently for their circumstances

*Eight new puppies in my world

*Watching my son care for the furry babies and seeing how nurturing He truly is

*getting  a text from my son at camp that he is homesick.  An unexplainable gift.

*counting down the days until we trek up to our beloved mountain home, where memory lives, and story waits to tell us more of the past, the present, and lend hope to the future

* new inspiration from new twitter folks, a welcome surprise. Reading tweet after tweet of words pointing toward the Father