A Playground Moment


Today I experienced a playground moment. Two of them actually – one taking place on an actual playground and the other playing out among women in much the same way.

This is the last week of school here in Alabama. It’s a time of fun and excitement for kids and parents. Lots going on in a short period.

My preschool darling has themed days all week and today was ‘Wacky Hat & Shoe Day’. She had more than a few ideas of what to wear and was excited to get to school and share in the fun with her friends this morning. As we went out to the playground, she ran to a group of girls with anticipation.

And then it happened. I looked around from talking to the teachers to see her sweet eyes full of tears and her spirit deflated. The girls didn’t want to be her friend or share the hats she had brought for them. They ran off playing & laughing & whispering about her, leaving her to wonder why and what she had done wrong.

You see, what they didn’t know was that it wasn’t easy for her to share her things. She didn’t want to. After all, these were her hats. So I let it be her choice as to whether to share them or not. After several talks about what it means to give things to other people, she decided on her own that she wanted to make her friends happy.

But I knew it wasn’t easy for her. I knew it all too well. Because, even as grown women, that want to belong and be accepted is so strong. Even very recently, I’ve reluctantly shared of myself, only to have it turned on me. I’ve put my truth and story out there (just like I’m doing now) and others have judged & exploited it. Yet, here I sit… fingers typing away.

Because the truth inside us all is bigger than me. Bigger than you. It’s louder than any whispers and hecklers.

As much as I know the hurt that Sophia felt this morning, I know another truth as well. That I am, she is, we are accepted and loved beyond what we can ever humanly comprehend. Fearfully and wonderfully made for a purpose. Dreamed up and created to be imperfectly fallible. And so are you.

People will hurt you and leave you broken-hearted on the playground – love them anyway. Give of yourself anyway. Don’t let anyone take away the joy of sharing your hats.

People will break down your spirit and belittle your story, your truth – tell it anyway.

People across this nation are seeing right now that what you pour yourself into & spend your lifetime building can be taken away & torn down in moments – build it anyway. Pour yourself into it anyway.

You Can Always Come Home

I took a road trip yesterday. An impromptu one, with a girlfriend = the best kind.

It wasn’t to some far away place or luxurious destination. She took me home.

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Lately, I’ve been feeling stuck. Not motivated to write or do anything that I love. I have looked high and low for inspiration for weeks and weeks, and I haven’t been able to find anything that really stirs my soul.

Until that trip home.

Of course, we talked and laughed and told stories that we’ve both heard time after time. It was full of  the moments that just don’t get old – when familiar stories morph into deeper conversations? And there’s something about being stuck in a car that makes it okay to say things you’ve held on to.

One of my favorite movie lines is from Apollo 13 (which is jam-packed with them, BTW). Tom Hanks plays Jim Lovell, the astronaut who captains the Apollo 13 mission at a time when NASA and the space program are unsure of their future. You probably know the story…  plagued with one mishap after another, the crew has to scrap the mission early on and is lucky to make it back with their lives. (Sounds somewhat like my teenage years!)

In an interview before the launch, a reporter asks Jim if there is a particular time in his airplane experience that he can recall being afraid.

He tells a story of flying a plane in the black of night over the Sea of Japan. His radar had jammed and the homing signal was gone. Someone in Japan was actually using the same frequency and it was leading him away from where he was supposed to be. (Sound familiar yet?) He flips on a map light and suddenly everything shorts out in the cockpit. All of his instruments are gone. He doesn’t know his altitude or place, but he does know that he is running out of fuel. He looks down in the darkness and sees a green trail. It was the phosphorescent algae getting churned up in the wake of a big ship that was just laid out, leading him home.

Upon reflection, Jim notes that if his cockpit lights hadn’t shorted out, there’s no way he’d ever seen the algae. And his closing words to the story are, “So, you never know what events are to transpire to get you home.”

That line ran through my mind more than a few times on my road trip yesterday…

You never know what events are going to transpire to get you home. But I know it’s where my heart longs to be. Settled. Comforted. Home.

Dorothy was right, there’s no place like it.

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**Picture credit: My sweet friend, Mandy Kaiser, is sharing her photography with me so that I can share it with you! She’s such an AMAZING woman with so much talent & spunk. Check out her other work at her website, Mandy Kaiser PR.