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?

 

Bobby Pins

It seems like all other things in life bobby pins come in seasons. I have noticed that at times my hair routine seems to consist of rummaging, raking and resorting to stealing my roommates bobby pins. And then other times, like today, I find bobby pins under my sink, on my desk, in the dresser drawer, on my floor board, in my makeup bag and generally in all the places I searched for them yesterday. Why is it that some days we search with such intent and drive and frustration, only to come up void and other times, when we are barely looking, our hair clip container brims?

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalms 46:10

Maybe it is time I get my hands off of the desperate search and let the Lord bring a bounty of bobby pins ministry to my attention!

Backroads

Have you ever been beckoned by a backroad? You know the ones, the ones lined with trees on both side, trees that are arched at just the right angle as to make a clear path yet still leave mystery to what lies beyond. The calling to go down the winding road always happens at the oddest time. Like today for example, I was on my way back home and at a pit stop for gas. (a gas station that has frog leg fridays!) My car had been moving for 8 hours already and my back ached and the sky threatened rain. While making my right turn out of the station, I looked away from the interstate and I saw it. That road, the one I know all to well. The path that looks so familiar yet new. The pavement that longingly waits to be used even though the cracks and tarnished paint let you know it has been used far too much. The road that you know holds so many treasures yet is blocked by uncertainty and risk. Yeah I saw that road today and it begged me to come and see what was on the other side of the trees.

Alas I thought of my back and the large amount of money I had already spent on gas. I thought of the risk of wrecking on an uncharted path and possibility of getting lost. I thought of my comfortable bed and my sleepy roomate in the passenger seat. I pondered every reason not to drive that rustic, enchanted and enticing backroad as I looked both ways before pulling out of the gas station.

And then I heard the words of my sweet and wise friend Katie… “Here is the great thing… When the Lord calls me to go circumstance does not define whether or not I can” The excuses fade to the challenge and the fear subsides to the mighty power of the Provider, the lamp to the path. So I looked once more down that pleading winding road from my rear view mirror as I merged on the interstate.

(I wish I had taken the road…always take the alluring road)