In Remembrance…

…of the dear, blessed souls of Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina…both the souls who rest now in the eternal arms of Jesus, as well as those who mourn their loss.  This is also for those of us who still grieve.  May we all know God’s peace and the protection of the Holy Spirit.

 

For at least the next 12 days, I will be reflecting (and possibly writing) on the Mother Emanuel episode from last summer. As a native of Charleston, child of the 60’s, student of segregation and desegregation, raised in a culture steeped in racism and backlash, my grief is complex. Not wanting to expose my struggles in public, I will be writing a great deal that will end up in the trash. Furthermore, I intend to NOT use this anniversary as an opportunity to try to change people’s hearts. I will, however, pray…fervently. But those who still mourn deserve a respectful remembrance, a bowed head, long moments of silence, and a prayer that they will be wrapped in unspeakable peace.

If anyone wishes to express their sentiments to the members of Mother Emanuel, to the friends or families of those lost, to the world, or to God, you may leave them as comments here. It is my intention to print this both before and after the 17th and mail it to…or deliver it to…Mother Emanuel Church.

I realize many, if not all, of those most strongly affected by the event, wish for their lives and grief be private. I beg their forgiveness. I know, however, that to be able to express our grief…those of us who mourn from a distance…helps us to cope. It is for all of us, with the (hopeful) blessing of Jesus, that I present this.

To the Glory of God…

 

Pruning, Topping Out, and Cutting Back

This morning, I was reading Mike’s post titled Bearing Good Fruit on his wonderfully written and inspiring blog, Seeking to Reflect Jesus.  I read how easy it is to “gloss over” scriptural references we have heard over and over such as “God is the vine grower, Jesus is the vine,” but for some reason, Mike’s words hit me between the eyes (you know, that place where my brain is supposed to be.).

I even exclaimed out loud:  So, that’s what is was…last year when I lost my job, my house, my savings, my credit, my credibility, my friends, and nearly my life…I was being pruned… topped out, and cut back.

Well, I must say, a whole lot more fresh air and sunshine is being let in. The new growth seems to be good and strong.

I’ll let God and others evaluate the quality of my fruit (my writing, my taking care of my next door neighbors, etc.).

If I focus on my own wake (to mix a few metaphors), to evaluate how well I’m doing, then I’m not watching where I’m going and could hit a stump or run aground.

In the past, I have become addicted to the validation (praise, thanks, compliments, etc.) So now I just keep my eyes to the next task and my feet and hands moving without regard to ‘stats’ or pings or whatever.

To throw in another metaphor (from cooking; specifically, to smoking meat) “If I’m lookin’, it ain’t cookin.”

Thanks be to God, and to God be the Glory.