During this transition time, these activities have helped me greatly:
Tears loosen the icy grip of fear:
Fear of letting down, letting people see, letting people close, and letting yourself just be real–pimples, farts, screams, smiles, hugs, and all.
A heart buried out of fear of losing love if not perfect or doing what others want.
A heart surfacing through the unconditional love of Jesus, shown through people: the hugs and kisses of a one year old nephew, of walking alongside sisters through widowhood and marriage, of brothers letting me into their lives, and parents’ nurture and prayer.
A heart surfacing through giving 100 percent, of being rejected, but still having hope to heal and teach again.
I still have hope…for my life, for my city, for my world…
An engaged heart means deeper pain, but deeper hope.
This cherry pie has traveled more than most.
It began with sour cherries getting mixed with sugar and flour then poured into a pie crust, baked at 425 degrees for 40 minutes, and wah-lah–a pie with a heart-shaped pattern on top.
The first destination was my sister’s bridal shower, where I forgot it in the rush of arranging flowers and chopping watermelon for the fruit salad.
The pie traveled home, and then a few days later I took it to the home of an artist friend of mine. She had the great idea of putting the pie in the oven for 30 minutes while we took a walk around the neighborhood in the golden dusk.
She had vanilla ice cream with the bits of vanilla bean in it and it dressed up the pie. I ate two pieces! My friend enjoyed it too. We drank a wonderful nutty tea.
In the pieces I ate, I came across 1 1/2 cherry pits, and I don’t think my friends got any. I’m glad. So this pie wasn’t perfect.
A day later I went over to another friend’s house, and brought the now half of a pie…
We watched the fun show “Call the Midwife” and ate our pie with milk.
We laughed and cried and hugged good-bye.
This pie still has some life in it because there’s a third left.
…Three weeks later…
The last third moved with me to the big city, and I ate it in my kitchen, sitting on the floor, with a cooler as a table. It made my new apartment more homey.
Through this pie’s travels I learned that cherry pie is comforting and makes people smile.
Mid-December sun shone into the old farmhouse as I unpacked the box of the refurbished computer. After I pushed the “on” button the Welcome of swirling letters and music made me laugh.
Friends and I snapped silly photos in photo booth, and I loaded hours of music onto the machine.
It made the last semester of paper-writing easier, and helped me graduate, apply for jobs, then apply for grad school.
It typed my way through grad school, crashed once, but I was able to update it and make it better.
This computer connected me to home via Skype to be able to talk I family and friends while I taught in Costa Rica.
I watched “Confessions of a Shopaholic” the night before I flew home and then in the Mexico City airport as I journeyed home.
My grad degree had to be finished of by a grand research paper, and last year my computer and I did it, and I graduated.
It helped me connect with family, friends, and strangers through email, stories, poems, a blog…
On Sunday night, the last DVD it played, Soul Surfer, made me cry from happiness and inspiration.
Then I had known the computer was struggling, but it knonked out on Monday morning, during summer vacation, where I don’t really need it… I have time to be thankful for how the 7 1/2 year old computer helped me accomplish goals and contemplate my next goals… and my next computer…
The transition between summer vacation and heading back to school can be a tough one. It’s especially tough when you are the new kid coming into a new school, and you don’t know anyone. I saw the grief and the joy that heading off to school evokes in people (especially kindergarteners and their parents!) Last week at the school where I teach we had to keep a group of kids behind because they didn’t have permission to go to the park yet. There were several sets of siblings and students of multiple age levels. I walked around talking with the students, and then settled on the ground to play Pyramid Ten with a student. Then I watched as spontaneous art began to explode before me.
Some of the students started grinding the sidewalk chalk into powder, putting their hands in it and giving each other high fives. They loved it because when their hands would clap, there would be a puff of “smoke.” I enjoyed watching them partly because I got to see new kids reaching out to other kids and start to feel part of the group. Community was growing right before my eyes! Then they started smacking their chalky hands, wham, against the school building. They covered the rust brown wall with hundreds of handprints and fingerprints in different colors…it was a work of art that wasn’t planned; it just happened. I love seeing what happens when you give kids space to be creative. Now I have a new vision for letting spontaneous art happen in a safe, loving place.
The handprints lasted through the weekend. I will remember the joy the students had as they leaped through the air to reach a higher place on the wall to make a colorful handprint. More importantly I’ll remember the connections the students made with each other as they smacked each others’ colorful hands and laughed as a puff of chalk whisped out.