Like with most things that break me, I never saw it coming.
This time, the words came in the form of a letter. A smattering of broken sentences and life had come undone. My heart shattered, falling like sand through my fingers. Even if I were to gather the remaining pieces, mend them together through tears and time, I would never be the same.
In these moments, when my heart is breaking, sometimes I find it hard to sing. And to my surprise, it is these very slivers of time of heartbreak when it is vitally important to keep singing.
Why do we sing as part of our worship?
A friend of mine was at a gas station when a young man came inside, loud and agitated. The cashier instantly told the man to settle down or get out, but when confronted, the young man (who happened to be Black) said that he was upset because when he was outside a tow truck driver started calling him racial slurs. The cashier apologized while my friend went out to stick up for the guy, including taking the tow truck driver’s picture so she could report him. The tow truck driver started arguing with HER, swearing and calling her racial slurs!
My friend didn’t back down. She called the tow truck company.hen they heard what had happened, they were pretty upset. Hopefully, the racist tow truck driver has long since been fired.
When my friend told me this story, naturally my first thought was: “she is awesome!” But my second thought was:
“Wait, was this in Tacoma?”
Oh yes, it was. And not 1956, Tacoma, last month Tacoma.
Maybe some of you reading this are not surprised.
Maybe some of you reading this are a little surprised, but not too concerned because you know you are not racist.
There is one thing at Discovery that everyone I have crossed paths knows about me: I am in love with my hometown. My hometown being a small surfing, ranching, and rodeo community (yes, we do have an annual event every summer called “Surf Rodeo”) by the name of Ventura, California.
I left Ventura in the summer of 2015 to attend college up here in Tacoma. I was ready to be out of Ventura after living there for almost twelve of my eighteen years. I thought I was going to leave forever when I got on a plane to SEATAC that August day.
But Ventura called me back sooner, rather than later. I fell more in love with my hometown the longer I stayed away. I didn’t realize how unique, special, and wonderful Ventura is until I left. I took every opportunity I could those first few years to go home and be in my beloved community.
One of my favorite places in my hometown (as it is for most residents of Ventura) is Grant Park. Grant Park sits on the second highest hill in Ventura and has a gorgeous view of the entire city of Ventura, beach and countryside both. The Cross sits in Grant Park, which represents The Cross placed in Ventura by Father Serra when he founded Mission San Buenaventura. The Cross is a holy place in Ventura. I have seen weddings, funerals, graduation photos, and family reunions all take place there. I have driven to The Cross when I feel the need to cry, have a moment to myself, or to take in the view as I eat my Corrales burrito.
The Cross tells us that we are home when we see it. It’s truly a sanctuary to so many people.
I literally fielded this conversation just the other day (and others like it many times before): “I know I need Jesus. I want to be connected to God. But I’m pretty liberal, so… well, obviously you see the problem.” Clearly the man didn’t know me well – and he didn’t know the Bible at all. […]
Here’s the ugly truth: Every time I hear of someone’s disappointment with “the church,” I find myself thinking… “Ugh, that’s me.” Talked behind someone’s back? I’ve done it. Betrayed someone’s trust? I’ve done it. Helped someone out and made them feel like a “project?” I’ve done it. Acted fake? Lied? Shown favoritism? Been self-righteous? Definitely. […]
My parents had just become Jesus-followers when I was little, the first in their families … or at least the first in their families in a long time. I have a very early memory – three or four years old, maybe – of the two of them making a pile of vinyl records with frightening […]
I meant to invite him to dinner. I really did. My gentle, old neighbor with the ruined long-term memory, who always smiled enthusiastically but never remembered my name. I meant to invite him to Christmas Eve service. I really did. And I knew that if I extended the invitation, he would come. Truth, though? In […]
We’re entering the time of year when most minds turn to family. For many, the holidays bring positive memories and joy from spending time with loved ones. But that is not the case for everyone. Some come from broken homes. Others have lost loved ones, maybe even during the holidays, and instead of joy they feel renewed loss and hurt. The challenge for us as the church of Christ how do we handle these reactions of hurt, or even deep seated scars, for those we now call family?
I recently asked the members of my small group what three words come to mind when they hear the word “father.” As expected, the responses varied. We do not all have the same feelings or experiences when it comes to our fathers. The reality of our day and age is that, more than likely, at least half of us will not have positive view toward our own father. And it’s not just because of divorce. I live in a neighborhood where the last statistics show that more than 60 percent of the homes are single parent households. Now clearly this becomes an issue for not just how we view our fathers but our mothers as well. But for the church, we use the word “father” a lot.
In the movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Steve Martin plays Neal Page, a marketing executive in New York desperately trying to get home to his wife and kids in Chicago before Thanksgiving. After meeting Del Griffith (played by John Candy) they set out on a 3 day adventure trying to get Neal home. Failure after failure causes them to eventually drive a rental car.
Del is driving and Neal is exhausted and sleeping in the passenger seat. Through a comedy of errors, Del ends up driving the car in the wrong direction on the highway. As they drive along, a car with a husband and wife on the other side of the highway notices the deadly predicament that Del and Neal are in. They begin to honk and shout at the duo from across the highway. Del thinks the couple is trying to race him at first. After Del noisily honks back at the couple, Neal wakes and groggily tries to figure out what they want and rolls down his window. The couple both yell from across the highway, “You’re going the wrong way!”
Monday evening. Dinner. Our family is together again after a couple of days of quickly moving parts in various directions. We are hashing through the weekend — and my husband Brian pauses, uncharacteristically somber around the eyes: “I saw a theme yesterday.”
Act One: After a beautiful morning at church, we headed to a BBQ lunch at the home of some long-time family friends. They were celebrating the baptism that morning of their 15-year-old son, complete with hot dogs and hamburgers and a house full of people.
Brian met the parents of one of the kids’ girlfriend. Military family. From Texas. Been here six years — and moving back to Texas this summer.
“It’s so unfriendly here. We’ve been so excited to come to this BBQ — like, we’re finally gonna spend some time with people! Can’t wait to get back to Texas and be part of BBQs and picnics and get-togethers with people again.”