Monthly Archives: September 2010

Good work done well.

I pride  myself a little too much on my curiosity, my love of knowledge, my hunger for understanding. Teaching all day you’d think that our pursuit of such would provide me the most pleasure. But today, I was able to re-aquaint myself with another part of my person. I had detention duty. One of the tasks we dreamed up for the detainees was for them to sort any pre-gathered and gather any as yet scattered cans and bottles for our recycling effort. I had two happy to help eight graders’ labor on loan, so we attacked the huge bag of un-emptied containers. They had gloves; I don’t usually bother with such.  My companions learned why, their hands sweating into their gloves.

I t was their job to complete, but I could not help but lend a hand. It was fun, emptying and bagging and searching out strays. It reminded me of my favorite task when I was in middle school: emptying our rain barrel. My Dad rigged one up with bendable PVC piping and washtubs and garbage cans. Any man who had constructed most of the dams in North Georgia could rig up a rain barrel.

It was my job to empty it whenever it got full, even if it was raining. I complained a bit to do so in the thick of a storm, but inwardly, I relished the job. I took empty gallon jugs from the cellar and filled them from the barrel. Then I returned them to the cellar. It took about fifty jugs to empty the barrel. It was a pretty big job for a 75 pounder like me. Did I say how much I loved it? It was mindless and important and good for everybody and everything work. I could never wait for it to rain.

Emptying those bottles brought back memories of filling all those hundreds, maybe thousands of jugs when I was about those boys’ age. I so loved saving that good water for our azaleas and gardenias and vegetable garden – which all flourished. And I now love that it saved something in me – the value of good work done well.

Here’s to my boys today. You guys made it fun and good. Good on you.

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indoition #2

Jerm and I were talking about how indoition frees us up to be ourselves and let’s others be their selves – ultimately their true selves.

Maybe  just loving people for who they are ( presently) and who they are made to be (whole and illumined by God) is life lived on mission. Maybe our goal is not so much to make people change or make decision for Christ as to pray and confirm who they are in Christ. That is, we love them into their real selves – we are not content with who they are – yet unhealed, yet broken, yet confused, yet despairing, yet selfish, yet etc. We don’t just accept, although we do accept and enjoy, we love. Love demands all. Love does not rest until others are their best, it ever pushes and pulls in prayer, it ever serves, ever encourages, ever confirms, ever overlooks stumbling, it ever is.

So maybe the answer to how we are to relate is for us to accept and to enjoy, and for us to love.

Love does not process or educate or mold people who will be like us in thought, deed, belief. Love finds the true vision of God and does not cease loving until it is incarnate.

We are all in need of this kind of love and its work in our lives.

Loving my children goes far beyond my accepting them. Love’s purpose through me is that they might be made into the image of Christ that they are fashioned to demonstrate.  Maybe we are each icons of His image, sculpted, painted, composed to bring Him glory and honor and joy to the world.

Maybe our work is iconic in nature, finding the image of God in each and laboring to bring it to glory.

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a king

I was walking across the drop-off drive to class. A student, handsome, an athletic star, bright, and popular tapped my shoulder and handed me a five dollar bill, “for the well.” I smiled at him. “I never knew how much this,” he looked at the five now in my hand, “could do. It’s amazing.”

“You know,” I told him, “here we don’t have a lot of power to make things better for people, especially children, but overseas, we are like kings – powerful to bring change and deliverance.” He met my eyes and held them.

That young man is all but a prince here. God, trouble his heart until only kingship is enough for him.

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The pictures are here!

 

I got a facebook message from Mark and Lea Huett today, ” Here are the pictures of the kids getting their shoes, for many, their first ever shoes.” I quickly clicked over to their facebook site. There are 64 pictures of “our” kids, my last year’s seventh grade class’ kids. Tomorrow, I will introduce some of the sweetest now eighth graders ever to the South African students.

In the comments section of the fb photo album that Lea sent me, a story is relayed. The center where these children are fed everyday was just robbed, of all of their food. Robbed of their food. We don’t know that kind of thing here. People take cars and jewelry and tv’s and cash, but food? How often do thieves clean out a pantry here?

I think that I will just show all the pictures and let them read the comments for themselves. I know exactly what my kiddos will do. By Tuesday, we will be on project again. They’ll send me back with, “What else do they most need? food money? uniforms? (their clothing is quite tattered in the photographs) books? Now is not the time to walk away with our ‘well done.'”

Whatever the answer, they will deliver. They have been infected with the dis-ease of compassion.

Lord, infect us all.

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Homecoming

I really love the week, Homecoming. I choose to be in charge, crazy as it makes my life for those few days. I get to see the best of the students, in moments when they must work together, when they must lay down silly separations and decide to be a team. I get to see some rise up and invest in others.

There is one guy who made the whole week for me. He told me at the beginning of the year, “I will be there to help you in every way that I can, I will be there.” I watched him step in to himself this week. When things got crazy and loud, he calmed the crowds for me. When I needed physical help to get things where they belonged, he was acting before anyone else could volunteer  He went all out dressing up, he gave, he built his float after everyone else left, he helped other teams in crisis times, and most importantly, he gave his full self in front of everybody. It wasn’t in a glorious place, not on the football field, or in front of the high school spirit gatherings, it was in the elementary games.

I saw him emerge with those little kids. It wasn’t just the excitement and enthusiasm he shared, lots of my helpers were good at that. It wasn’t just his willingness to play with them and be the victim of their exploits. It was what I heard him say to those kids. I heard the exhortations he offered to them individually. He somehow found their fear and anxiety in the moment and calmed, motivated and helped them to get excited and do well. On his knees he was ten feet tall, gigantic in influence.

I wasn’t the only one who saw it, some of us who have prayed for him, still do, for two years now, saw him step in. In all the insanity of  200 elementary students in a gym, fifty playing crazy games, God somehow turned our heads to see our man emerge.

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I thought that they would hang back a little.

Tonight we had a guided prayer time. Jerm reads a scripture. We let it speak to us and then we pray – all of us pray about the individual revelations that we got and shared with the group. One person shares then we pray along that axis for a bit. Then another shares, etc. It is always a powerful time. It’s not something we do quietly, like many of our prayer exercises. When we do corporate guided prayer, we pray aloud, we walk and pray. We move in and out of earshot of one another’s prayer. It is a moving experience, hearing one another talk to God in their own manner in relation to a specific thought.

We have new Edgers and Edgers from last year. Last year’s kids are older, a year or so older than this new batch. I thought the young ones would hang back a little, maybe not even approach the microphone without serious encouragement. I was so wrong. They moved forward to take the mic and share. They beat the old Edgers again and again to take their turn.  And they prayed energetically until the end of our time as well.

We didn’t really know how they were going to do, if they would shrink from the many similar things we will do this year.  After tonight, I’m pretty sure they are going to be just fine.

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Indoition #1

Y’all think with me about times in your life when someone, anyone, said, did just the right thing to encourage, strengthen, stabilize you a bit. That’s what Jerm is talking about with our “Indoition” campaign: it’s our being sensitive to hear what others’ need and then having the compassion/passion to act on it.

Here is my yesterday example. Homecoming begins this next week. I am in charge, better, responsible for the whole shooting match save Powder Puff. I am not nearly ready, much is still up in the air. I’m pretty stressed and tired already. I walked into the volleyball tournament to check on the JV girls. They had just played so I was leaving to go get more float paraphernalia. I’m about to hit the door bar. Miss Diana hollers my name – like loud – it stops me, “Mrs. Sullivan, I sure do love you.”

Noticing me, in a non-normal mode, she could have just let me walk on and whispered a prayer. She could have called my name and waved. She could have sent me a text, “I’m here to help” or “I’m praying.” She could have done lots of kind loving things. All would have been appreciated. All would have helped me.

But she didn’t – she called out that she loved me, loud, in front of all those visiting teams and parents. And it arrested me. It bore deep into me, it was God hollering through her. After the very worst day I have ever had at KCS, a day I nearly walked out for a real job, I heard in her, “I love you,” so much more. My head turned and I saw Madeline, Kenzie and Hannah sitting on the floor. Madeline who never  fails to grab me and tell me that she loves me. Kenzie,  the inheritor of my passion for youth ministry, and one who will surely exponentially out-influence me. Hannah, who never says a word to me, who watches to see who and how I will be.

That’s indoition. That’s how it works. We just echo what we hear, in content and tone. We just do what we see the Holy Spirit showing us to do, the way we are shown to do it. That’s all it is, Indoition. God invades the obedience and shows Himself and changes people.

I so, as never before, see the power of such.

Let’s Intuit; let’s do it.

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