I sort of had a “death-to-vision” experience yesterday. A women’s event that I had been planning did not have enough people registered, so we had to cancel. It wasn’t enough to send me into a pit of despair, but it’s an event we had hosted a few times before and I just did not see this coming. It’s funny how when things don’t work out as you planned, that loss can feel a little bit like a death. I’ve been down similar roads before, so I know that one chapter has simply ended and a new one will begin. After death, comes new life.
I took a few hours to grieve yesterday morning – canceling event plans and discerning next steps. I think my soul – no, I know my soul – is grieving the horrific events in America this past week too. The heightened anger and brutality and injustice weighs heavily on me and I fight to combat cynicism and hopelessness. I am still breathing – God is not done with me – this cannot continue – I will do my part.
I also know that no good battles are fought sitting down, so after some time I made the choice to get up. I took a shower. Tidied the house. Putzed around in the yard, feeding the chickens and breathing in nature before I tackled the grocery store. And before I left the house, I made sure I put on a pair of BIG, BOLD EARRINGS. My friend had gifted me these earrings the day before and they just scream fun! And goshdarnit, I am NOT wrapped up in cynicism and hopelessness, I. AM. FUN. God knew I would need these earrings.
So the plan was to go grocery shopping – and since I didn’t have any food I decided to stop at McDonald’s for a quick bite to eat. You know, never grocery shop on an empty stomach – ya dee dah. Go on, judge me. Yes I could have made a healthier choice. But I was still wallowing a bit and I was going to eat my feelings. There, I said it. I would just throw all of my passion for holistic living out the window for a few minutes alone with my french fries. BUT, listen to what happened!
It turns out, a lot of other people eat their feelings too because the line at McDonald’s was quite long. So after I paid to eat my feelings, I was sitting in front of the woman who was working there for a good 2 minutes and we had a long conversation about MY EARRINGS!
Lady at McDonalds: Wait! Are those earrings?!
Me: (I’m not sure what you thought they were.) Yes! My friend gave them to me. I think they’re kind of bold.
LaM: You know we NEED bold!
Me: You are so right!
LaM: Our earrings should say something about us. We need to be bold, courageous and different!
Me: Omagosh! Yes, sister!
Bold. Courageous. Different. I never go to McDonald’s, but this woman was preaching it to me in the “eat my feelings” lunch line. You can bet I thanked God for that woman. He used her to speak a little bit of encouragement to me.
So the lesson is: Do not despair. Be like my earrings!
Be Bold. Stand up for what is right. (Holy Dinah, all the things.) That means calling out oppression and injustice when we see it.
Be Courageous. This may mean having uncomfortable conversations at times. And that might be scary. Do it anyway.
Be Different. Lord, make me stand out as a peacemaker, justice fighter and light seeker – hanging on to hope for this weary world until I’m dead in the ground. Help me to love all of my neighbors with the reckless love that you extend to me – and not just the neighbors who look like me or practice the same religion as me. (Oh and hey – being a “peacemaker”does not mean turning a blind eye or remaining silent. At some point, we will have to choose a side. Doing nothing always empowers the oppressor and never the oppressed. As Christians, we should be enraged by what is going on in our country. What side of history do we want to be on?)
Bold. Courageous. Different.
Be like my earrings.
(And for the love of God, vote.)
**For CT residents, today is the last day to register to vote. To register online, go to iwillvote.com. And then on November 6th, vote like your life depends on it. Vote like someone else’s life depends on it. Because it does.