For my three-year old daughters, life is a series of endless discovery. Snow. Tricycles. Gymnastics. New Foods. Park Slides. French lessons with Kari. At each new discovery, they are faced with decision. Do I try this tall slide? Or do I skip it? Or do I just watch for a bit? Sometimes all it takes is reassurance – in the form of me standing at the bottom of the slide to “catch” them. But sometimes they let fear or uncertainty keep them off the slide altogether.
The people I see changing the world are doing it quietly.
They have tenacity.
They have the courage to move to the middle: A mentor-hero named Jill. Brothers Jed and Jacob. A policeman named Cube who serves inner-city youth. Tim and Tyler, who took a burned out, horror-filled building and turned it into a place of healing. Three girls who gave up everything to love and mentor orphans in South Africa.
None are celebrities. They don’t have many social media followers. They don’t brag about it.
They simply live in the risk of the middle.
We see the madness of today and hope for a better tomorrow. We don’t know exactly how to hope or how to express it. But whether we realize it or not, we all hope and wait for Hope to return. This Advent, we need him again—to restore and reconcile and bring justice and grace and peace. This is our potent hope.
When someone shows up for us, they echo the divine promise that says, “I am with you.”
This is the Great Promise—that although we screwed up and made a universal muck of things—God fights to be with us. He shows up in the runny mess of life, in the stacks of late bills, in the car wrecks and the inevitable tears of loss.
This changes everything. We don’t have to be talented. We don’t have to know the latest bands, newest haircuts or fashion tides. We can slow down, turn off our phones, see the person right in front of us and be fully present.
We look to others to name us as writers. Are we any good? Do we have a big fan base on social media? Are we published, famous, bestselling? We believe when we arrive at one of these landmark stops, we will be a bonafide. Writing becomes a destination that is either filled with applause at the end, or it is nothing at all. However, as long as we look to others for approval, we will never find our voice.
Last week, two white flags mysteriously appeared on the Brooklyn Bridge. NYC police and counter-terrorism units were disturbed by the “breach of security.” While this is true from their perspective, I like to think something more beautiful happened. I think whoever put up those white flags had a brilliant idea: Create a clear vision of peace.
To hear my writing was like an IKEA product stung a little. But Kari was right. It hurt, but it helped move me in the right direction. These wounds – honest, true wounds – are helpful if we let them be. But if we get defensive or don’t listen, we miss the moment.
Recently, we were in San Diego, my wife Kari thought we should go to the Aquarium of the Pacific. My daughters love fish. Sahara likes watching seals jump. Dassi is a massive penguin fan. When you ask her what sound a penguin makes, she says, “Waddle, waddle, waddle,” then rocks side to side like a red-headed Weeble Wobble.
My twin daughters are two years old.
They love doing somersaults at gymnastics. Walking on the balance beam. Jumping in the foam pit. They love the zoo – the lumbering elephants and tall giraffes and howling monkeys. Rhinos scare them a little. They love home-made smoothies that Kari calls “Banana Drink.” (Pronounced ‘bo-nana dink’)
Last week, Icelandic police shot a man.
This hardly seems newsworthy, except, it was the first event of its kind in the history of Iceland. Never before had police killed anyone. Ever.
When the two officers responded to the call and went into the suspect’s house, they were unarmed. In Iceland this is not unusual; the majority of the Icelandic Police officers don’t carry weapons.
I love Portland. Small Batch Coffee. Powells Books. Community Gardens. Crisp air. Bikes everywhere. Timbers Army. Everyone has a front porch.
And in the mild summers, when the rain takes a break and goes on vacation, everyone lives on their front porch. I love the posture of this. It’s welcoming. Open. It’s the way of the older neighborhoods, designed by craftsmen and architects who built houses for relationship and communal living […]