Tuesday, August 21, 2007

head in the clouds.

one of my favorite parts about flying is looking out the window. the temporary change in perspective. what once seemed so big becomes so small. what once seemed so narrow becomes so broad. the world continues to function. but for a few moments, i am set apart from it. and as we ascend, my only reality becomes the clouds.

and i love watching the clouds.

at my home church on sunday our minister, chris, talked about clouds. and i keep reflecting back on the sermon. more specifically, he discussed the "cloud of witnesses" that surrounds us, as mentioned in hebrews. he talked about his own cloud, made up of people from his own life who had impacted and inspired his faith. the cloud also includes people he has never met. authors. theologians. biblical figures. etc.

so i started thinking about my own cloud of witnesses that follows me around. people who have encouraged me by word. by example. by love. and i was overwhelmed to consider all the people who have impacted my life. my faith journey. and i felt entirely blessed.

chances are if you are reading this, you are part of that cloud.

and this cloud surrounds me. and is a part of me. and goes with me. wherever i fly next.

i was actually supposed to be surrounded by the clouds this very moment. as i was scheduled to fly from charlotte to jamaica to grenada this morning. but because of the hurricane destruction in jamaica, my flight has been rescheduled for august 29th - a week from tomorrow.

i was all ready to go. bags pretty much packed. but, i must wait another week. i was disappointed at first. but i'm looking forward to whatever beauty this week will inevitably hold.

when i do fly, i will look out the window. surrounded by clouds. reminded of the people in my life who have covered me with love and encouragement and grace. and in anticipation of the new people i will meet who will join this cloud of witnesses.

thank you. you mean more than you know. you will forever be part of who i am. of who i am still becoming.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

beyond the postcards.

my grace frank has been to grenada before (and by my grace frank i mean my unconventional maternal grandmother who we don't dare call grandma).

upon hearing my upcoming plans, she has given me four gifts:
a basket of spices, from "the spice island," that still remain fragrant.
a few old school three by five photographs from her venture there in the late eighties.
a postcard from grenada, already addressed to send back to her in wilkesboro.
a compact tolietry case.

now my grace frank has traveled to a lot of places. but of all the places in the world i could of ended up, its kind of neat that she's been there before me.

and its kind of crazy that i'm going to be there in a week.

even though i read about it. i hear about it. i see pictures. i still can't wrap my head around what life will be like. but maybe that's the point. maybe its about experiencing people. and cultures. and life. first hand. beyond the postcards.

still many things to pack. many details to figure out. many goodbyes to say. many hugs to give.

only to be followed by many things to unpack. many more details to figure out. many greetings to say. many people to embrace.

dear grenada. i will see you soon.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

tribute to boone.

goodbye number eight.

that's what amanda said as she closed the door to our apartment and pushed in our dysfunctional peep hole one last time.

i don't live in boone anymore. which is weird. wilkesboro is nice. it is hotter down here, though. but hey. gotta work on my hot weather tolerance for grenada.

just wanted to pay tribute to some of my favorite moments from my last few days in boonetown. in completely random order:

climbing up the colony of rocks at hebron with my brother and christine. enjoying amanda's homeade funfetti ice cream while watching friends. jogging amidst the wildflowers in the meadow near the greenway. visiting my eighty-one year old kindred spirt, mrs. mitchell, who never ceases to shower me with wisdom and laughter. eating out way too much at local places when all our food and cooking equipment were packed away. (here's to mellow mushroom. boone bagelry. cafe portifino. mile high. and even murphy's). ducking under the guy hanging in the hammock above our stairs. observing the fascinating interaction of the pratt siblings. looking through erin's amazing pictures from japan. reminising with jeffrey, amanda, erin, and andrew about college in amanda's new round house. crying with amanda when i realized i was saying goodbye...

dear boone. you mean the world to me. but there's still more world to see.

camp elk shoals is good for your souls.

got to go to one of my most favorite places last night. camp elk shoals. its where i spent last summer on staff with carolina cross connection. where i've been on countless church picnics. where i was a camper myself. went to visit miss laura adams and all the folks there for ccc. there was a ridiculous summer shower in the afternoon. but everything cleared up to have the friday evening festivities outside. we did the cookout thing. the campfire thing. neat to see some of the campers i had actually had in years past.

the part i loved the most was just being in that worship area again. that simple, rustic chapel. overlooking the mountains.

somehow i volunteered to help set up luminaries for worship with the program team. and it was so wonderful to be in that space. to have a part in preparing for worship. before campers arrived from campfire, i lied down on one of the benches. covered with stars. surrounded by candles. and there was this stillness. this silence. and it was beautiful.

soon campers came. and we took communion together. and i adore communion. a celebration of our union with God. with each other. all welcome at the table. all being filled with something holy.

and worship continued. and this fog invaded the worship area. stars were barely visible above. and there was a sort of haze all around. there was something mysterious about it all. i felt like i could sit there forever. and just be.

yet at the same time, i had a peace about leaving. i knew i would miss this place. i knew i would miss the familiar. but i also knew that this place. my memories here. are apart of me. and they go with me. wherever my feet take me next.