Everyone in their Sunday best. Easter is when most people put a bit more thought into what they are wearing. But across the aisle he had grease around his nails. His shirt was neatly ironed… his pants perfectly pressed. His nails brought tears to my eyes and I could barely look away.
What if we all couldn’t wash off what we had done all week?
What if we could see it on each other?
Would we still show up?
What if we only worshiped He who saw our sin and mess then died in our place… and not the One who rose and conquered the hungry mouth of death and washed us clean?
Clean so we could come to Him?
Clean… so that nothing could stand in the way?
I couldn’t stop staring….only looking away to wonder what we would all be wearing?
What would I be wearing?
The grease around his nails was beautiful. It was beautiful to me. It sounds crazy even writing it.
The grease it screamed “of honesty, transparency, vulnerability and this is who I am …who I have been all week long….and no matter all that , I knew I could come here.”
He told me it would be a week. Out shopping with my daughters He showed me a tree and said…”in a week it will bloom …. in a week the lamb will be born.”
He must be talking about Easter… lamb ~ Easter .. a week would be Easter . That was a magnolia tree. He can’t mean my sheep and lamb…they aren’t due for a few weeks and He wouldn’t bother Himself with my lamb… what is that to Him … yes, yes, Easter and lambs… something like that.
“What do you think about Nolia for a lamb name? Like magnolia only just Nolia , if it’s a girl?” Bel thought it was odd but pretty. But I dismissed it… by the time the lamb is here it will be all dogwoods and cherry blossoms… not magnolias, like I saw . Magnolias will bloom within the week…for Easter.
Last night I saw the tree in full bloom.
This morning I woke up to see my dream multiplied.
Happy Easter my friends… He cares about your dreams. Even your silly dreams. He put those in your heart and they aren’t silly to Him.
and more than anything… He wants to let you sit in the light of a Son and just ramble…ramble about your dreams to Him.
Because on this Easter weekend..
remember you were His dream and He did anything to make you come true.
“Wait…. Why did that man leave because she got a big sign with her picture on it?”
“Why is he leaving because she got the better job?
“Why if Annie is so happy ,is Frank so mad?”
“Why is he mad at her? Just because she won medals from all over the world and he didn’t ?
“Why doesn’t he just become a better shooter? He should just practice more?”
“WHOA! Why is Annie using the loosing empty guns so that Frank will win the shooting match!!!!? She is a better shot than him… why would she want to loose just to make him win!?”
In a room full of 5 daughters and one son we watched Annie Get Your Gun. My girls lit up with questions…. it was like they were hearing a high pitch noise and didn’t know what it was. Mer and Noa were firing off questions like they were in a shooting match. It was a sea of furrowed little girl brows. Yen had a look like she was squinting into the sun… none of my girls could comprehend this forfeiting your gifts so “a man can feel like a man.”
“Happens all the time, ” I start in,”and the truth of it, in this scenario ,Frank will never become a better shot. He will never become better at his gifts because he needs a woman to become less at hers for him to be satisfied. The worst part… is she can never really soar in her gifting … because she doesn’t want to surpass Frank. This circus show won’t allow for a woman to lead because they think that makes a man look less of a man.”
“Why doesn’t he just practice more… try harder … or just be happy for her?”
“Well…. women do this all the time… they don’t want to excel in the gifts God gave them because their husbands are bumps on a log… or just not ‘into it’ so instead of thriving in their talents or gifts they fear his feelings being hurt, or hurting his pride , or they fear the appearance of not submitting to him … But that just makes tons of men who never strive to be better… who live as weaklings and really creates a bag of passive bullies who know as long as they stay mediocre they will never have women around who make them feel weak. For many men it is easier for them to shut women down than to just rise up themselves.”
all my daughters looked over at their father.
“No no… Dad is great with it. The sky is the limit ,as far as Dad is concerned … for him and for me…. and for all you kids. And the crazy thing is… this movie isn’t historically accurate but it is a true story of the world you live in. The true Annie Oakley and Frank Butler story is more empowering. In the real story the crowd cheers to ‘let the girl shoot’ … then Annie goes on to impress everyone and Frank is completely strong in his giftings and goes on to manage the finances, advertising and career of Annie Oakley. To them (unlike the movie) they weren’t thinking about who was leading… they traveled this life together… and actually promoted women’s rights together. It’s actually pretty rare for men to not be intimidated by strong women or for that matter for people to be intimidated by other strong people’s gifts… so don’t be surprised if you see this again. But when you do see it… remember it isn’t a reflection on your gifts… its a reflection of the other person’s insecurity. So no worries.”
With the last bites of breakfast still being chewed they clunked on their boots. Zim volunteered to take her way far out in the field. “I always did this when I was her age,” he said as if that time was such a long time ago.
“I am going to go stand in that cloud that came down,” Noa professed as the door slammed behind them.
I watched them run out to stand in the midst of where heaven had come down to meet earth.
She came back singing .
I always preface it with, “this is how we celebrate Passover … We weren’t raised celebrating … neither one of our families of origin did this… so we are blindly piecing it together. We don’t do it with rules and regulations because for us … that was for a time where regulations and sticking to the Jewish laws was what saved you. We feel now, for us, that slaps in the face to all He has done. So if you ever sit down to someone else’s Seder it will most likely be completely different. However, for us this is about passing stories to our children… We feel that the price has been paid and for us… this is about getting together in His Name, reminding our children and each other, all that He saved us from and how “We are what we celebrate” and this is a very real opportunity to celebrate Him.”
Every year I wonder if any one really cares about it as much as I do. Is all this fuss worth it?
But first thing, with cereal bowl in hand , my son realized it was Passover he wrapped his arms around me, “OHHH I just remembered it is Passover!!!!”
Right before everyone left ,and we gathered for Communion and my eyes peeked open to see a holy circle of kids and friends my heart sighed.
As one of my dearest friends left she said, “wow this is my 3rd Passover here,” and I realized her children know no different : a new generation knows no different.
And that feeling I have every year, when I go to sleep on Passover is unlike anything I have ever experienced … I know He thinks it is worth it … we are worth it to Him … and He is worth it to us.
Bald eagles are in the sky, crocus’ are on the ground and daffodils are nodding thankful sunny blooms. I gathered all the kids who weren’t preoccupied with their studies and went to the garden shop. Miracles of miracles the baby fell asleep and I leisurely took my time breathing in all the smells and colors of spring blooms. I will admit, it may be a bit early to put my pots out, but I don’t care. After this terribly way too long cold winter… I am putting in a flower heavy garden. This will be a first for me… I was raised with very little “excess” plants. We grew, if at all ,a very serious vegetable garden. Extra flower beds were considered “stupid, stupid, stupid”. However I recently was inspired by my aunt’s garden who plants tons and tons of flowers… and truthfully my children rave about it to such a degree that I reconsidered the way I was raised.
So flowers and excess joyful additions it is!!!
Community doesn’t always take off like you think it would.
Labels and definitions are more important…crucial even, than you think.
Most people use the word “Community” where they mean :
Most people don’t understand how to handle each others flaws and gifts.
flaws will come out in community.
When you are sharing real life with each other…when you are giving each other grace to be your real selves…. the dross of you will surface.
The dross of others will surface.
It can be a drossy mess. Truly.
It will happen…. and it is okay.
Anytime you are trying to get a finer more precious material dross is expected.
The beauty ,the most wonderful thing about true actual community… is then the real goodness happens.
When you share your different answer … or you stand up and speak out about what is wrong… and you aren’t shoved away but supported…
when you knock the wind out of someone… but they love you for who you really are and know that wasn’t your true self….
when you say the incorrect thing but they hear your heart … that is where the precious commodity of community makes sense.
And no socializing… And no networking will do that.
The mistakes are the litmus test of real authentic community.
How people handle themselves when they have made a mistake is the litmus test of if they truly want community or if they were confusing it with social networking.
Do they stomp off?
Do they “poison the well on their way off the farm” ?
(and oh baby … they will and they do … and that is part of it all too … just more of that drossy mess)
Do they apologize..like the sincere kind of apology?
Do they forgive even through hurt?
Community is a simple grid … and you are on it … or you aren’t.
You can skim off the dross or you can’t.
You can love regardless or you can’t.