Wednesday, September 30, 2015

31 Days: Door Holders

My topic and title for this year's #31Days is Door Holders.

That's right; thirty-one days of door holders.

Let me explain: At Passion City Church, they have an entire team of people called 'door holders'. They are, essentially, the greeters; the information desk people; the parking attendants; the customer service folks. They're the folks who greet you, in some cases literally open the door for you, and help you navigate what may be unfamiliar territory.

I visited Passion City Church last year and was impressed and touched by this team. The entire experience of pulling into a foreign parking lot and finding my way into a big building with hundreds of people streaming in simultaneously was made easier and even comfortable by scores of Door Holders. They did, in fact, literally open the door for us.

It mattered. It set the tone.

They made a difference.

/ / /

I was quite taken by this team and its name. Words matter, and I felt that conceptually, these particular words really conveyed the right intention and level of action for folks in that welcoming role. In fact, in some subsequent meetings at my workplace, I lobbied hard to 'borrow' the name and use it for our own Guest Services teams at PCC, as we considered how to raise the bar and cast vision in those areas. My lobbying was to no avail, as our team didn't feel like it would quite work at PCC.

I pouted for a moment and then got over it.

But I didn't forget it.

At the heart of everything I do in my current position in ministry is the idea of opening doors, extending grace, welcoming others, offering a seat at the table. Regardless of what we call our team, I want to be seen as a door holder for others, as much as possible.

It is not an easy thing, and I fail daily; this notion of loving your neighbor as yourself and considering others better than yourself - found in the Bible - require selflessness and humility that do not come easily to me.

But I am trying, because I believe it matters.

/ / /

Last week, I read this blog post from a writer / teacher much admired, and it put the final cog in place. As I strive to hold the door open for others, it is worth remembering who held the door for me. I did just that, in fact; I sent the link to the blog post to someone who opened an important door for me in life, and I said, You did this for me. Thank you.

And there it was.

For the next month, I will strive to write daily posts, telling stories of folks who cleared a path for me, gave me direction, pushed me along, provided a gateway, pushed me through a portal.

I suspect there will be more than one trip down memory lane and a few google searches.

And undoubtedly these posts will mean more to me and my current state of nostalgia than anyone who reads them.

But there it is; and I'm excited. I'll write tomorrow about my first piano teacher, Mrs. Millie Bark, whose hand on the handle of music defined my entire life. I hope you'll come along.

How about your door holders? Who's the first person that comes to mind when you consider this topic? Who would you write about?

Day 1: Mille Bark
Day 2: Diane Cornelison 
Day 3: Donna Ferrere
Day 4: Tony Stoddard
Day 5: Pauline Elizabeth Delong Case
Day 6: Nancy Beach

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It's Almost October

It's that time again.

October brings pumpkin stuff, cooler weather, dropping leaves, marching band and - in my case - inspired, consistent blogging.

(Which has been lacking lately.)

There's a 'movement', for lack of a better word, among bloggers every fall that inspires and connects us to do better. Read more about THAT here.

Last year, I wrote about music in 31 Songs (you can catch up here).

Prior to that, it was 31 days of noticing. That was a good exercise. (See what I mean here.)

I've been chewing on this for a week or so now, and I've decided what I want to write about this year. It connects well with where my heart is these days, and the deeply rooted seat of satisfaction in my more contemplative moments.

More details in the first post, but today, I'm starting with this image.

Hope you'll come along. I welcome your comments!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Look Back: Trust And The Empty(ing) Nest

I am not posting as frequently, these days. Time and life and a longer commute - it all gets in the way.

But there are things I have written that I need to be reminded of. I will post just a few of them here in the next few weeks.

So, for that time, three years ago, when my youngest daughter went off to college and our next was free of females - save the mama - and I had to adjust to All The Changes:

Here you go. It's called Trusting In Advance.

Good reading for anybody experiencing the empty nest and wondering what happens next.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

And Then We Rest

This new pattern in my life is less than welcome, and yet mildly fascinating.

I'm getting about three good nights of sleep each week. The other four are fitful and frustrating. I doze off and then jerk awake, or I toss and turn and toss some more before I give up and read, or rise.

Tonight, I rose.

I know this comes with age, with the season of life that sees parts of my female essence slipping away as I embrace - gasp - middle age.

Wait; 'embrace' is not right word. I'm staving it off; pushing back. Denying it. Everything I thought was middle-aged is most everything I am not.

Except for these things over which I have no natural control.

My body is changing; my sleep patterns are altered. My appetite has changed. My energy level is not quite the same.

But here I am, and it seems to me a rather futile waste of energy to run away from what is unfolding in my life.

Earlier this evening - or yesterday, to be more accurate -  I sat at the kitchen table and talked with my boys. Sixteen and just shy of 20, they are young men of this millennium; attached to their devices, at home with screens. We talked a bit about communication and how it's changing, and I wanted them to tell me; show me, help me see the incredible difference between my life and theirs, as marked by digital technology and the world - and their friends - just a swipe away. I told them how - even just seven short years ago - Tony and I would spend an hour on the phone, just talking.

"Does anybody even just talk on the phone anymore? Does that even happen?"

Not so much, I guess.

They shared how they do feel the need to communicate, how they do so more often than we realize. Older son said, Remember that message, when Brian said that everybody has a certain amount of words that they need to use up every day? Well, sometimes, I finish school and I come home and I haven't really talked to anybody, but I have all these I have a lot of friends, and I can just text them. Or snapchat. Just to give them my words.

We are not so different, I see. The context has changed, but the need remains.

There are things in me that are shaking out; reduced to single nuggets of occasional distraction as water sluices through. The need to talk so much, the desperate need for approval. An acceptance of the body I live in. Willingness to take a nap.

I would rather be sleeping right now, but I have noticed that on those nights I do not sleep well, the following days are much less painful than I'd expect. There's an evening out of things, I think; one need lessens and perhaps the other responds in kind.

Life seems, mostly, to be about that sort of give and take. Underneath the billowing landscape of change, we still have words that need hearing and grace that needs giving.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Or at least my perspective tells me so. Time moves me through the years and sleepless nights, and my sons look for connections that makes life worth living and telling about. And we give one another our words.

And then we rest.

A scene from my Sunday morning drive; thick, luscious clouds and can you feel the crunch of the corn husks?