We passed this remnant of a barn and by the time I hiked back to it I was starting to wonder if I was nuts. Why photograph a building that wasn’t going to stand much longer and would soon be rubble turning to dust? Perhaps that’s the fascination. It’s time was fading fast and in a few years there would be a new building in its place. “Probably a strip mall” I was thinking.
I miss the character of individual properties so I love getting away from tract housing and planned living spaces. It’s amusing what you will see when people are given the freedom to be creative. Don’t you long to let go of what the world tells you something should be and make it into what you feel it should be? Just a question is all….
We had been here in the Redwoods many times and were familiar with its offerings of majestic trees in whose presence our only response could be awe and wonder. As my husband dragged his camera gear about, I walked quietly behind him just enjoying the place, far away from our fast paced schedule and freeway commutes.
Going deeper into the park we started to hear a high pitched child’s cry and then others calling something back. We couldn’t make out what was being said until we crested a small hill. Children on bikes were spread out for a small distance both up a hill and on a flatter lower level. The high pitch cry we were hearing was the shouting of a young boy in obvious distress, tearfully wailing, “I can’t do it!” My husband walked toward him to offer help, but about this time his sister had come down off the hill to help him herself and told us they would be okay.
It made me wonder about the many times I have whined and cried out loud to my heavenly Father, telling him over and over, “I can’t do it!” What a noise I have made too. Still He is faithful and brings me sisters and brothers alongside to help me make that climb up my own hills.
My husband and I kept on the trail for a while and when we came back it was obvious all the children had made their way back up the hill to the top. I smiled once more thinking about these life lessons the Lord has me take notice of.
He’s a friend, I know this in my heart. I rarely get to talk to him or spend much time with him and his son. We are often busy working and go in separate directions when we leave for our homes. The few conversations I’ve had with him left me humbled. His gratitude for the smallest acts of kindness cut deep into my heart.
He came to find me today. He had a gift he wanted to give me. The gift he had was permission to share his story. I know the cost of this, I have witnessed his heart breaking as he opened himself up in an act of trust to share it with me.
My humility arises and I am feeling less than worthy of this gift. How does one go about sharing the heart of another’s story? Still, I know the preciousness of what he has just offered me. He is a man of value and desires desperately for his own son to be a man of worth. This is not a gift to dismiss and I know it, so I will be faithful to try and write it well enough to have it stand the witness of his own child. It may take me a while.
His heart in the matter was to share with others anything of encouragement he had to give, even in the tragedies of his life. A more noble sacrifice I do not know.
There is a term “shut-in” that Wikipedia defines as “a person who is either unwilling or unable to leave his home, often due to disability, or a mental disease”. A conversation I had took me back to some places in my life where I felt an incredible fear about leaving my house. There wasn’t much rhyme or reason for it since I had no physical or mental ailment. I merely suffered from an undefined fear and I would confine myself within the house for long periods of time, avoiding my phones and knocks at my door.
I am not living in that place of fear these days, but I wonder about the different ways I have seen “shut-ins” today. Those that have lost all interaction with live people, but communicate entirely via computer or texts. Even those who seem to be functioning on some level but live inside their televisions. Worse still are those who are locked up within, afraid to venture outside of themselves; fearful of new relationships or adventures.
What a tragic lie “fear” can be…..
“Tripping The Live Fantastic”, this was a title of a Paul McCartney album released when I was privileged to actually see one of the Beatles in concert. Have to tell you though, I didn’t really understand the thought behind the title choice.
It’s certainly been…hhmph…cough…a few years since that album release, but now I think I finally am getting it! Perhaps my thoughts are not the same as Paul’s but I can appreciate a new thought in my own thinking for what it means to me now.
Imagine living life as expected? Now imagine living the life beyond expectations?! What a trip that is, to live “the fantastic” life we are meant to have!
Helen was sitting on an ice chest at the entrance/exit access point for a shopping area near where I work. She was holding a sign in her hands for all to read as they passed, “Need Help, Homeless, God Bless”. I flipped my car around to go talk to her and asked if I could buy her lunch. She graciously accepted and I went to a nearby restaurant to get us a meal.
With the food in my hands, I sat next to her on the curb not really caring if I got my clothes dirty. We managed to get it spread out like a hobo picnic and for the next few minutes I got to enjoy this woman’s company and hear special things about her life.
She was a mother of six children, 3 girls and 3 boys. She had been adopted into a large family but most of her family was no longer living. I didn’t ask her age, but she looked to be in her late 60s. At the moment, she was living under a bridge she said no one else was using, with her older son. He has a bad heart and cannot work.
Her story was simple for why she was homeless. She has a small income but the apartments she was living in had been foreclosed by the banks and everyone had been evicted. She could afford to pay a small monthly rent but to try to scrape together all the deposit fees and other costs was too much.
As I sat with her listening to her sharing her story, many cars would stop and give a dollar. This woman already had my heart of compassion, but I was more surprised by the reactions of each driver who stopped. Their faces wore the pain of seeing this older woman having to beg. You could see how much they desperately wanted this wrong righted but they didn’t know how.
I had the privilege to pray with Helen and in my heart I already know the outcome of her future. She was a true treasure to have met and spent time with. What I am really taking away from this moment however is much larger. I saw people today who want to help each other, who want to make a difference in the lives of those around them. I saw hope offered one dollar at a time, shared with smiles and cheer. This is love given away, one kind act at a time.