Circle of Life

I was doing fine, really.

That is – I was doing fine, despite an emotional and exhausting work week, one which resulted in our team closing a major acquisition in the DFW area – years in the making, with many, many helping hands.

I was just exhausted, and I knew that would not bode well for me in getting through the weekend.  This weekend, after all, was a once in a lifetime.  We would be taking our 18 year old daughter to college at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX.   I know many of my friends were in the same situation – and at least our daughter is only a short 3 hour drive away.  In Texas, that’s nothing.

And I was handling it all very well, I thought.

That is, until we got to her dorm room on Friday night.  I was not going to force myself on her; I was not going to insist on helping her unpack everything.  I did, however, insist on one thing:  helping her make her bed.  I may not have much to say about the next 4 years of her life, but I could at least start her out with a pleasant feeling of a warm bed and new sheets.  Somehow, she agreed to that.

We opened the new pillow covers and pushed the pillows in, fluffing them gently.  We pulled out the new duvet cover, and stuffed it with the feather cushion.  I messed up a bit – didn’t get the corners right – but Shannon helped to fix that.  Then I found the sheets – the ones she had picked out specifically.  As I shook them out and placed them on the bed – first the fitted, and then the flat sheet – I pulled the bright duvet over, then pulled back a corner to let the polka dots peek through.

And as I ran my hand over the dots, the memories flooded back.  See, Shannon’s crib bedding consisted of brightly colored primary sheets – also a polka dot theme.  Looking at the sheets, I realized what a full circle we had closed:  from the celebration of bringing her home to her own crib (Shannon was born 8 weeks early and weighed 3 1/2 lbs.  She was in the hospital for about a month); to the celebration of leaving her to her own bed, in this new phase of her life.  I should be celebrating.

And I was.

In my mind, I could hear the lullaby I sang to her each night (

I wish for you, dear child of mine, to know only love that is true
To sail on the wings of a song your heart sings; these things I wish for you.

To know when you’re wrong; to know when you’re right;
To smile at the stars as they shine in the night.
I wish for you fortune in all that you do.
These things I wish for you; these things I wish for you.

So – I was doing fine, really.  The memories were there, just as they should be.  And I knew she’d be staying in this new place, starting on the life of happiness I have prayed for her every step of the journey.

I just wasn’t prepared for her observation (paraphrased), as I ran my hands over the sheets, remembering:

“You’re thinking about my crib, aren’t you?”

My  job here is done.  She is ready.  And I’ll be fine, too.   Really.

Two ears, one mouth

“The first duty of love is to listen.”  – Paul Tillich

We cannot begin to understand each other if we don’t listen.  Don’t spend more time crafting the answer than understanding the problem.  Listening and love are inseparable.

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Quite a bit of media coverage has been dedicated to Chick fil A President Dan Cathy’s comments denouncing same sex marriage.  Mr. Cathy’s statements have been interpreted as a company wide position, resulting in a worldwide media barrage of political posturing.

Many people have supported Cathy/the company in its definition of ‘Christian values.’  Others have spoken out against the commentary, claiming Cathy’s words promote “hate and inequality.”  Former Arkansas Governor, and popular conservative, Mike Huckabee joined in the fray by encouraging a “Chick fil A Appreciation Day” on August 1 – with the stated goal to support Cathy’s (and the company’s?) right to free speech.

The day after, it is hard to open a newspaper, in print or online, without reading about the groundswell of response from Huckabee’s call.  Waiting times of 30-45 minutes were common, as customers voted with their pocketbooks – large purchases from the Christian right; orders of water only from those opposed to Cathy’s comments.  Many others, I would imagine, came out in support of the original call – free speech.  And my heart goes out to anyone who was not aware of the onslaught of controversy, finding themselves inside a Chick fil A yesterday, with no knowledge of the political fray.

I avoided Chick fil A yesterday, but watched the ruckus through online media outlets.  I listened while a friend shared his voice on camera in Austin.  I watched my facebook feed as many of my friends accepted the invitation to the Appreciation Event of the Year.  I saw Twitter light up with debate.  And I was thankful for that freedom of speech.

But when the time came for me to eat my lunch, I sat quietly at my desk, and listened to my heart on the topic.  My heart told me this:

‘The Spirit of the [Lord] is upon me, 
  because [he] has anointed me
   to bring good news to the poor.
[He] has sent me to proclaim release to the capitves
  and recovery of sight to the blind,
   to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the [Lord’s] favour.’  (Luke 4:18-19, NRSV)

Had I braved the crowds, I would have done so in support of free speech.  And perhaps I would have been thoughtful enough to purchase a few sandwiches for that mother down the street who can’t feed her children.  That is the biblical value I choose to support.
In all things, Love.