no straight lines

empty-parking-lot.jpegA couple days ago I was in a virtually empty parking lot and as I looked down through the spaces I could see that not all the lines were perfectly straight. I know for sure that the lines that were drawn work great and that no one would look at the job that the line-painters did and ask for a re-do or a refund. I think that when it gets right down to it we all understand just how hard it is, even with help, to be perfect in anything.

My immediate reaction to these thoughts was to “social media” this out: “We cannot, with our bare hands, draw a straight line or draw a perfect circle. It is by and for grace that we were not meant to.”Receiving grace from another is a blessing and giving grace to one another is, I believe, a blessed obligation. Why is that?

A good friend of mine claims that we are all striving to return to Eden. He’s referring to the Garden of Eden in the Bible. Whether you believe that the Garden was an actual place where God created Adam and Eve, or a poetic symbol of a pure and simple time with fresh wonder and partnership, I believe that we could all find some truth to that claim. I also believe, in the context of our human journey, that with each breath everyone of us is given the chance for grace and to give grace; and that grace ultimately leads to redemption.

Be it redemption to right action, to regaining self-confidence, to restoring peace in relationships or finding the joy in giving and forgiving, there is much to be done. And do we not have a responsibility to point each other in the best direction that we know? Divinely, we were not made with the capacity for perfection. Indeed none of us can claim to have lived a straight line, but this need not be the focus when grace is available to us at every turn to restore, to inspire, and to redeem. For all the grace that you have been given… give those around you that draw less-than-perfect-lines some of that grace.

Luke 12:48 “Everyone to whom much was given, of them much will be required,”

25 years ago today…

I was attending a small Christian school in Kansas. Several of the kids had left for P.E. but I’d stayed back due to being sick or something. I believe I was in 5th grade. At one point in the morning, the teachers gathered us around a little TV, that may have been a black and white set, I can’t remember now. We were all excited to watch the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Just over a minute into the flight an explosion happened. My young mind couldn’t quite grasp just how massively tragic that was. I understood that people had died, and I was sad about that, but to empathize or at least sympathize with the ones that had lost family members was beyond my capacity at the time.

Watching the footage now, I find my emotional response much more in tune with how much of the nation must’ve felt that day. The reactions from the TV reporter and the NASA Tech were basically the same; they were speechless.

Our challenge, of course, is to recognize and embrace just how fleeting life on earth is. We should mourn the losses, and celebrate the breaths. We should give as many as we can the chance to breathe with ease, because the ebb and flow of life on earth will always call humans to return to that quiet dust.
It is not our right to live happy, it is our gift. Our gift from God and our gift to one another, should we accept the challenge.

Before we embark to give happiness to one another, we should consider the renaming and re-framing of what happiness is. To call it joy and to know it in the midst of pain and suffering indicates that we have touched upon a bit of grace. For when heavenly grace collides with earthly reality, that is when we see supernatural truth and beauty beyond that which our minds can fully conceive. Our bodies are tied to the laws that govern this beautiful, beastly globe, but our souls can constantly be in flight, smiling at the joy of freedom.