The Way I Saw It

The past few mornings have been rainy. It’s difficult to wake up and get moving when the sky is so gray. But yesterday morning, though rain still fell, had a different appearance.

Looking outside, I noticed the sky looked strange. The view out the back door was still mostly gray, but with an odd hint of pink. Looking out the front window showed the sun trying to shine through the rain. My first thought-I bet there is a rainbow.

So, I walked outside, and sure enough, there it was, a beautiful rainbow, the full arch, from one corner of the sky to the next. Little drops of rain fell on me as I took in its beauty. And then, of course, I had to snap a few pictures.

My eyes saw each color of the rainbow. Clear and bright. But when I looked at my photo, something was wrong. Still beautiful, but the colors seemed muted. Not what my mind remembered from just a few moments earlier.

I immediately began to edit my photo. Don’t you love those filters? But this took a lot of adjustments. I played with light, contrast, shadow, etc. Finally, I had a picture that represented what I had witnessed.

Why was it so important for me to change the original picture?
Seeing that rainbow brought a moment of beauty and peace during difficult days. And by sharing my photo, I hoped to share that experience. Maybe someone else needed that same kind of moment.

Which photo best represents what I actually saw? In my mind, it is the second. But logically, I know it is probably something in between the two. Maybe the second one is more representative of how I felt. Either way, that’s the way I saw it. And I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere… 🙂

Temporary Gray

The earth still spins
As the rain falls
On this new day

Looking only at me
Leads to apprehension
For today’s troubles
A clouded perspective
Heavy and gray
Veiled like the sun

It is difficult to
See the potential
For good…for love

But looking upward first
And then outward
Taking my eyes off of me
Allows powerful light
To brighten this
Gloomiest of days

Assurance of hope
Shining even in
The temporary gray

Oh it’s so hard to see

When my eyes are on me

-Keith Green “Make My Life a Prayer to You”

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

Left Out

Ever-present
All-around
Drifting in and
Out of sight
Head down
Hands in pockets

Woman standing
On the corner
Little boy sitting
On the playground
Lonely, forgotten
Left out of life
Simply existing
Outside of time

There’s a choice
To be made
Keep moving
And ignore? Or
Stop and stand
In one place

Long enough
To see them
Long enough
To be seen
Long enough
To remember-
Only existing is
Not really living-

The next step?
Offer a smile
Walk toward them
Seeing me in them
Until they are
No longer left out

Out of Reach

Some days the
Weight of worry
Presses me down
And I am left crawling
Among the shadows
Hands and knees
Scraping the ground
Head low, feeling
Afraid and alone
Standing up
On my own
Is impossible-Yet,
A flicker of hope
Reminds me that
I am not alone
Like a child reaching
For their parent
I glance up as
His hands reach down
Lifting me out
Of the shadows
Gently placing me
Among the light
Of the stars
A time to rest
Preparation for
The day when
I will once again
Be found crawling
Among the shadows-
This is the journey
To be traveled with
One lasting truth-
Wherever the road leads
I will never be
Out of reach

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

James 1:17 NIV

Two Poem Tuesday

Passing Storm

Once again
A storm is raging
Emotions swirling
Like a tornado
In my head
The beginning
Indistinguishable
From the ending
Questions flood
My thoughts-
Why this?
Why now?
Why me?
But I must push
Past the questions
And just be-
Waiting-holding on
Until a tiny
Break appears
In the clouds
A split second
Ray of sunshine
Piercing the dark
Clearing my thoughts
Lighting my path
Just enough to
Observe the dust
Beginning to settle
Assurance the storm is passing

Lost and Found

Where are you?
I sense you are close
But my eyes can’t see
 
I reach out my hands
Fumbling in the dark
Wishing the clouds away
 
Where are you?
I ask out loud this time
A little further-just listen
 
My feet move slowly
Toward the sound of your voice
It grows louder with each step
 
Suddenly, my hands touch yours
No longer lost, I stand with you
Under the light of the stars

Pieces

Broken bodies
Broken glass
Broken hearts
So many pieces to pick up
Although they may not be my own
They clearly lay in front of me
Scattered across the landscape
Of my city
Of my state
Of my country
Yet, love has not disappeared
It continues to weave
In and out of even the darkest days
Mingling with the broken pieces
Mending hearts
Mending lives
Mending souls
Offering flickers of hope
Amid feelings of despair
Showing us how to begin
Picking up the pieces

This Road

The road
Once clear
Now obstructed
By unexpected
Roadblocks
Detours
Up ahead
Which way to go?

A new road
Comes into view
Along with
A new role
Not the one
Expected
Or desired-yet,
Gracefully accepted

Potholes trigger
Full stops…
But, gentle truths
Faithfully
Push forward
Erasing any
Thought of
Turning back

Moving ahead
A quiet whisper
Provides assurance-
Trust and follow
Nothing can take you
Out of my hand
Don’t turn back
This road is best

“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” Isaiah 49:16

Take me Home, Country Roads by John Denver

Ripple Effect

Our district, Union Public Schools in Tulsa, OK, currently has four sites working daily to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner for children in our community. In one week, over 70,000 meals were distributed. Today marks the end of week four.

It takes a massive amount of work for this to happen. There are so many people behind the scenes planning, organizing, preparing for this need. And many other volunteers step in to help with distribution.

Whether they realize it or not, those working in the background are creating ripples. Not just a pebble tossed into a pond, more like a boulder lobbed from the shore. All of them working together to create a lasting, powerful ripple effect.

Just imagine. A family drives through the line. They receive enough food to feed their children for that day. And they can do the same thing the next day. Actually, every day, Monday through Friday.

The parents and children realize how much their school community cares for them. They share their experience with friends and extended family. A tiny glimmer of hope in an unsettling time.

No, this is not the answer to all of the problems families are currently facing. Many are dealing with job loss, not to mention isolation. But not having enough food? I cannot imagine the fear that brings.

I hope it is these kinds of things we will remember when this time has passed. People recognizing a need and doing whatever it takes to fill that need. People working tirelessly with no thought of their own recognition.

I hope these difficult times remind us to stop and look around. To see acts of kindness. And to recognize each as a ripple with the ability to become a wave.

A wave of compassion that has the power to wash over us all.

A ripple effect with endless possibilities for positively impacting the future.

Blank Slate

As I opened up my computer to write this morning, all I could think was, “look at that blank page.” No idea what I wanted to write about, I just knew I needed to write. And then it occurred to me all these days at home are truly blank slates. There was no advanced plan for them. Each one is faced truly not knowing what the next one will bring.

Although that is true of our daily reality, we don’t often live that way. We make our plans, plan our trips, and dream about the future. Don’t misunderstand, those are important things to do. However, they must be balanced with the acceptance that we never truly know what tomorrow holds.

Even more than future planning, these circumstances make me think of missed opportunities. For example, if a specific person comes to mind today, I am more likely to send a quick text. Three weeks ago, I might have pushed it to the back of my mind. “Oh, I will contact them tomorrow…”

Not that I am following through on every thought, but I am working on being more intentional. I’ve already experienced the payoff in some ways that may seem small. One “Hello, how are you” text yesterday resulted in a sweet phone conversation about life and changes. It also brought much-needed tears and encouragement. That conversation will stick with me for a long time.

Another experience from earlier this week also made a lasting impression. I was thinking about dropping off a small care package to a dear friend. The plan was to leave it outside her door, get back in my car, and wave from a safe distance. Even typing it, it sounds silly. I almost didn’t do it.

Thankfully, I decided not to worry about looking silly. When my friend walked out of her front door, I found myself wanting to jump out of the car, run over, and give her a hug. She even had to remind herself not to keep walking in my direction. Driving away, I fought back tears.

My takeaway? We need each other. We miss each other. And I cannot wait to once again freely embrace my family, friends, colleagues, and students. I don’t know when that will happen.

Until it does, I will keep looking at these blank slate days with faith and hope and love. And just maybe, cover that blank slate with a little kindness. ❤

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13: 13

Special Guest

I am excited to have a guest writer on my blog today, my mom. ❤

When I was a little girl, my mom loved to write poetry. Sometimes for special occasions, usually written for or about an individual. She would share them with family and friends. Her words are displayed in frames in many of her siblings’ homes. But more importantly, her words have been stored in hearts.

She has not actively written in many years, but she has consistently encouraged my writing. Our current world circumstances influenced her to write again. She was a little nervous about sharing, so now I get to encourage her. 🙂

I hope her thoughts bring you peace.🌺

Break of Day

Birds singing
Break of day
Tune’s different
In harmony
This day

Flower Blankets
Covering ground
Soft colors
Fragile-Beautiful
This day

Gentle breeze
Dancing leaves
New life memories
New beginnings
This day

Joyful reminders
Hope and love
Steadfastness
Break of day
This day

Great Shepherd’s hand
Gently leads
On mountains
Through valleys
This day

Stand still
Know peace
Given by God
Break of day
This day

“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24