When I was young, I dreamt of flying. Some weeks, it was every night. I woke up thinking I still could. I flew above rooftops, slipped through massive power lines into a sky that was neither bright or dull. I was free, suspended as if an astronaut outside the shuttle, floating. There was no steering. No superwoman cape. No control. Just a soft rising.
But the dreams turned nightmare when black clouds crept up the horizon. The wind changed, the temperature dropped, and the hair on my arms stood on end. Fear clawed at my stomach like a starving raccoon. I panicked for control and escape.
I would awake, my body feeling light as a feather with a mind that remembered the dark horizon as if it were in the room with me. Storms are part of life. And the enemy takes advantage of fear like a wolf steering prey from the herd, alone and isolated.
Discourse & Intention
This summer, I’ve felt voice-less. I told a few friends, “It’s like someone ripped out my vocal cords.” In the last few years, it’s felt like the American dream (if ever there was one) has died. As if, the skies have become perpetually stormy and dark.
My social media feeds have been flooded with racial unrest, refugees and war, abortion, political bickering, financial fears, and marriage issues. They’ve pressed in like a heavy and smothering blanket. But out here, I’ve also seen gems. There are those who are humble, who do not negate grace and Truth. Ones who are bold and gentle. Ones who approach a subject, meditatively, filled with tender care and forethought.
I’ve seen how Love outshines a soul-starved world. Not the earthly kind, but a Love that surpasses our differences. Paul always reaffirmed his love to the churches when he wrote to them. His letters were firm and direct, but each anchored–in love.
I once felt compelled to enter the online fray, only to wade through deaf ears.
Civil discourse is hard. Listening, even harder. Approaching matters of opposition with love is a delicate balance of discernment and grace.
Love is not agreement. It is intention. It’s how a subject is broached, or a crisis, or a controversy. It’s how people engage one another.
“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint.” Proverbs 29:18 NKJV
These Little Lights
I’ve been a prodigal. I’ve looked from the outside, in. Christians be-friended me and had compassion. They didn’t approve of my choices but they cared.
I remember when I lived overseas on Okinawa. I remember Dwayne and Sondra, a young couple from Tennessee who’d invite me over and I’d read their local Tennessean paper they regularly received in care packages from home. We shared meals, Oprah time, and our first babies that were born weeks apart. We became neighbors when the 8-story apartment complex we’d been hoping and praying for suddenly had open spots for each of us. I remember how I smoked my Virginia Slim 120’s on her back patio. They did not cuss, much less smoke. But they opened up their Christian home to this wayward girl.
I remember another set of neighbors in Texas. The ones who lived two houses away with their ginger-haired kids that played Barbies and forts with my daughter. I remember how they prayed for rain for their newly planted trees and how I was not sure God cared about their trees. But I secretly wished to know a God who did.
I remember when I worked full time, with both a Satanic worshiper and a Christian man. The one talked about dark things, while the other sang with a skip to his step, as if he was untouched by evil. The contrast between two kingdoms was obvious. When I finally asked the Christian man what he sang; he mentioned worship, Proverbs, and a love story.
These people were kind and considerate lamps. Respectful and courteous. They didn’t tell me I was fine. They didn’t placate me. They didn’t need to tell me anything at all. Nonetheless, their little lights illuminated my darkened world. They gave me hope that there was something different than my life offered, a place where my rediscovered faith would one day give birth.
In the Better Way
Our world is trouble. Nothing new is under the sun. Burdens enslave us with their heavy yokes. Waking from a childish dream doesn’t offer an escape. If it could, then we’d be master and savior of our own lives. All our social dilemmas would disappear. Issues would be resolved with one turn of the page or one, singular click of the mouse. But we know this to not be true, try as we might.
But we still dream. We believe and imagine, not utopia, but Heaven in me and in you, a Kingdom, near and at hand. We live in a fallen world but we believe Jesus is greater.
We believe words and discourse can be moved with compassion and still hold on to the Truth. And we believe in a people who follow in the narrow way of it.
We dream of a Love, that edifies. We’ve been offered keys to the Kingdom. We’ve been offered an audacious hope and a couragous Spirit that empowers us to the end of age. Let’s not grow weary of such offerings. We have a world to live in; and by God, the Body is not impotent. Our Kingdom is on earth, just as much as it is in Heaven.