Friday, May 30, 2008

College Picture - Things Change!

Change surely happens. We all know it and when my grandma found this old picture of me in my college mailer from 1990 it became all the more true for me. Sometimes when I look back at my life it seems like I moved through different worlds as I grew older. I often write about my Childhood neighborhood friends but there have been groups of people that make up these different times/worlds of my life. When I see pictures of them the memories of those times come flooding back. Its not that I really want to re-live them or somehow transport back in time to change things. It is just that I don't want to forget them. This picture has not produced a story as such, just revived a memory that may one day bcome a story. My College days were a wonderful time with some wonderful people but they were also a time when my whole family, including my grandmother, seem to collect every scrap of paper that told the story of the first child in our family to go to college. I know there is a story here but it wont come out tonight. Since the moment this picture was snapped I have lost hair, gained a few pounds experienced 6 new worlds of friends, gained a wife and child, served 3 churches, wrote a book, became a minister and finally returned to my home state. I guess what is important is that I do remember each of these snap shots of my life. Here is to more pictures and more people and many more memories.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Mowing Cycles of My Dreams

The grass was no shorter than seven inches and the mower I was using was under powered. I would push it forward 2 feet and it would chug and sputter and die. I would pull it back, yank on the cord and start it again and push it forward 2 feet and it would come to an abrupt stop. I repeated the cycle many more times than letters in this story. Yet I had to do this. This small plot of land I was mowing is now for me one of the holiest places on the holy ground we call the Christian Conference Center. It is our pond chapel and its not very old but it has come to be a place I would call santuary to me.

I only mowed for about 40 minutes and after finishing the task I sat down and looked across the water, breathed and remembered the last time I pushed a lawn mower through grass that was even taller just because I needed to do it. I was in the middle of my 7th grade year when I convinced several of my friends to help me mow the grass of the abandon lot in our neighborhood. There were stories about who used to live there and why they had to destroy the house years ago but mostly those stories were known by previous generations and not part of the way we understood life or our neighborhood. It was just a lot that no one took care of and the grass grew tall.

So we started early and began mowing, pushing our lawnmowers into the heavy grass time and time again. With each time they would choke out and die and we would pull them back and start them again and push them forward into what had seemed to most an overwhelming worthless task. I dont know why I had to mow the grass of the abandon lot in my neighborhood, I just knew I was going to do it. In the midst of neighborhoods full of drugs, broken families, abuse of many kinds and too many adults who had given up on dreams of anykind WE, the children and youth of Holt street, played into the night on our freshly mowed field of dreams. We got our picture taken in the local paper and I am glad that I still have tall grass to mow now and then to remember when I first noticed that God was encouraging me to dream and build sanctuaries for all who need them.