The Cursive Letter ‘d’

 

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Cursive has always given me a mild form of cognitive dissonance. The gentle flow of the pen and the beauty of seamlessly connected letters massage my right brain; while the inefficiency of tracing and retracing the same lines pierces my left brain. I mean honestly, let’s just discuss how you make the cursive letter “d”: glide up ~ arch slightly ~ slide back all the way around ~ glide up to the top line ~ slide all the way back down the SAME line ~ curve out. With all of that tracing and retracing I could have printed the letter 3 times…yet even explaining it sounds graceful and delicate…but seriously the wastefulness stirs up real anger inside me sometimes…. Back and forth the whole time I write like laser tag in my corpus callosum.

You see my problem…ok maybe the cursive letter d is not really a problem, but this concept of retracing resounds through my life. I will twist and wind through neighborhoods and city streets, just so I do not have to backtrack, I always walk on diagonals for most efficient travel and I completely reversed a month long trip in Europe after getting on the train bound for the wrong city. I often question why traveling the same road twice agitates me to the point of entering Switzerland rather then Germany. And maybe in pursuit of energy conservation, I am missing the beauty and elegance found only in the painstaking art of cursive.

Maybe God needs to take me up to the top line and then all the way back down the SAME line to create something truly beautiful? Perhaps in the trip back down I will catch all the sweet treasures and grace I missed on the way up? And possibly if I had switched trains rather then routes, I would not have spent a night homeless on the cold concrete outside the Mulhouse, France train station…

I am reaching a place where beauty outweighs effort and I think I want to live in cursive rather than in print.

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Sticky Rice in a Bowl

While spending the night in a remote village in Southeast Asia, my teammate, James, slept underneath the family’s spirit house. In the dark of night, James heard the rustling of a rat. A few seconds later something struck him right on the forehead. With half open eyes, he saw a small bowl sitting upright with a tiny ball of sticky rice settled in the well. A very similar item to the one he had seen inside the spirit house earlier that evening. Heeding the warning to never touch the spirit house, he gingerly laid the bowl beside his bed and went back to sleep.

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Inside each bamboo hut hangs a wooden box where they appease the spirits with offerings and place their request

In the morning, we laughed about the image of a tiny bowl tumbling from the house and about what the family would think James had done to their spirits, but in the stillness of the long car ride out of the village my heart began to break for all the false hope that the tiny bowl held. To us it was a small bowl in a wooden box, but to them that bowl held their safety, their health and their hope. Everyday they feed the spirits seeking favor and having faith for their provision, when in reality they are feeding rats.

 The Lord asked the Israelites through the prophet Haggai…

“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes! Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored says the Lord. You hoped for rich harvest, but they were poor and when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, while all of you are busy building your fine homes” Haggai 1:5-9

We may think small wooden houses on the wall are silly and tribal, but we are just as guilty of feeding rats. Like the Israelites and the mountain people of Southeast Asia we store up treasure, put our hope in earthly earnings and lay our good deeds on a balance of karma. With our 10-year plans and our voracious pursuit of safety and long life, we forget that with a word God can create and with a breath He can destroy. He is a gracious King, Jehovah Jireh, our provider, the King of kings and the Giver of life, but when we build our sturdy homes, our bank accounts, our retirement funds and our registry of good deeds instead of the Lord’s dwelling place, all of our diligence and hopes went into the belly of rats.

So I ask myself what am I sacrificing before rats…and how can I build up the Lord’s temple inside my heart instead?