I came walking into the office a couple days ago with these two items in my hands. I sorta don’t know why other than I went to the pharmacy to pick up a couple of prescriptions and these two items were toward the end of an aisle close to the check out counter. They were one sale, at least the sign said they were, I didn’t actually check the fine print. I remember thinking it would probably cost me more NOT to purchase them since they were on sale. I’m thinking I may have been having some stress that day. I didn’t stop to ponder the efficacy of the nutritional value or lack thereof, I simply remember thinking they were on sale, the packages are bright colors, and when you have salt, then you need something sweet, and when you have something sweet, then it’s good to have a little salt. At least it made sense at the time.
Karen at the front desk did raise her eyebrows a bit when I walked in carrying them, and said something about it being “that kind of day.” I brought them back to my office and wondered, is it that kind of day? And sometimes it is.
Sometimes it’s the kind of day where you wonder how much more we can see and hear and try and process around police officers shooting predominantly persons of color who are holding no weapons, and people who are not police officers threatening and acting against those who have made a commitment to protect and serve. Sometimes it’s the kind of day where you wonder how it is thinking people have yet to find a way to get along in the midst of disagreements for the sake of what’s good for everyone, and not simply what it means to win or lose. Sometimes it’s the kind of day you reflect on what you’ve done with, in, and through the life you’ve lived; and wonder how it is in the authentic attempts you’ve made to provide a positive environment for folks to work, and learn, and be faithful to the gifts God has given them, that it never was enough and evidently still isn’t.
My way of being in life has been a great desire for folks to experience acceptance, care, and as much support as I can realistically give. I want a life where I truly celebrate with folks when they reach a goal, when they survive the day, when they realize they are stronger than they ever thought they were. And I want to walk authentically with folks when the sorrow is deep, when the finality of a chapter is becoming real and conversation becomes a way of reaching a place of freedom to receive the grace God has for all God’s children.
In the midst of all that, there are simply things I do not do well. Sometimes it’s because I have little to no interest in learning those things, sometimes it’s because I have no natural proclivity, sometimes it’s because I’m stubborn and insecure and because it takes me longer to recover from injury and hurt physically, emotionally, and spiritually, so I simply don’t want to go there. I try and hold myself accountable for my own choices and often am a way worse critic than even my adversaries. At the same time I also try and celebrate my strengths and the moments I am clear God has done with and through me what I believe God envisions, that is probably my greatest joy of all. Then I know these crazy gifts God has provided in who I am have been used as closely to how they were meant as is humanly possible, and I am humbled and grateful. All of that is what is true for us as imperfectly perfect and perfectly imperfect human beings I think.
And sometimes it’s just that one kind of day. That potato chip and Hershey miniatures kind of day. Doing your best isn’t enough for the strongest critic or seemingly even for the compassionate friend. Max and the cats are awaiting an arrival and will absolutely not care what kind of day it’s been, how many chips and chocolates I’ve had, and whether I’ve been at my worst or my best regardless of how anyone else evaluates my being in private or public settings. In those moments one of my favorite quotes comes banging to the front: “Lord, let me be the person my dog thinks I am.”
I’m headed west tomorrow. I’m travelling with a friend who it just so happens has a speaking engagement halfway across Kansas on the same day that my great nephew has his last football game of
the season with the Northern Valley Junior High Huskies. I can’t look past that kind of serendipity. It’s way more fun driving across the state of Kansas with someone to talk to, and then to end the drive cheering for my oldest great nephew in a 6-man Junior High football game under the lights of a small town that has a Dairy Queen is almost too much goodness for this old pastor to ponder. Plus it’s supposed to be 79 degrees out there tomorrow – last week they had snow flurries. Aaaaah, KANSAS!
Friday will be a travel day back and I’m intending, somewhere between Hill City and Hays, to release the Monday and Tuesday that-kind-of-dayness that wound up in chips and chocolates. Because finally, no amount of negativity around my way of being in life by others or even myself, compares to the beauty of the color of the sky in western Kansas at a football field striped with yard lines, rife with football cleats and 14 year olds running for endzones. I know the chips and chocolates will still be here when I return, but perhaps the need to anesthetize my spirit with some emotional eating will not. Finally, the God of grace in my life is a foundation of joy and healing, an openness to accepting the truth of my weaknesses, and embracing the freedom of moving forward in faith. So may it be for you as well, even a minute, or maybe two, of grace!