Take 10

Take 10.


That crisis knocking at your door can wait, odds are it’s been an issue for some time already anyway. And tell that “to do” list to just take a chill pill.   


The world doesn’t need yet another distracted and stressed out, hurried and harried, edgy and grumpy person today.


Right now “take 10”. Pause. Unplug. Power down. Turn off. Catch your breath. Inhale…exhale. Tell folks you are meditating or praying (people seem to respect that and may just leave you alone) and then just be…just listen for the still small voice of heaven. Or take a power nap…but “take 10”…right now.


Okay…back from your ten already huh? Hope you caught your breath because it is a full weekend at Cypress. Saturday morning rummage sale to raise money for Pastor Jean’s home in Haiti. Three services: Sat@6/Sun@9:15&11. Getting Started Class, book clubs, children and student ministries, Saturday dinner and service in downtown Clearwater for the homeless and under-resourced and…


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I was on the Cypress patio chatting and noticed a little girl crying. Since she already has  a piece of my heart, it made it easier for me to pull her into my arms and try to soothe her inner pain. I discovered that she had inadvertently put a hole in the stencil design she was coloring in and consequently it was no longer beautiful. I proceeded to show her my well worn, loosely held together Bible which to me is so beautiful because it has inspired me to know and seek God and resulted in a life I love living. “Beautiful doesn’t mean perfect” I told her…”beauty is inspiring, and I find this art to be inspiring because it reminds me I don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful…and neither do you.”


I’m not sure if it was the hug or my words or some combination of the two, but the crying stopped and the little artist resumed her work. Anything we withhold because we or our work isn’t perfect is a bit of a crime. It’s a crime because you are stealing that beauty from someone who could use some inspiration. Someone who needs to be reminded that you don’t need perfection for beauty. You are holding back inspiration from people who need it, afraid of what someone who doesn’t get it may say about the perceived imperfections.


Stop withholding you and what you have to offer. Beauty isn’t perfect, it is inspiring.




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Mr. Rogers Was Right

I was born and raised in a small mid-western town in Nebraska settled primarily by people of German and Danish descent. We had our customs, traditions, and world view. What we didn’t have very much of was people of color. So as a child my understanding of diversity was shaped by family and people in authority in my life. I had relatives who referred to African-Americans as “the darkies”. (I understand now that their understanding was shaped by the same culture I grew up in). My only experience with people of color was gained by watching the nightly news and seeing images of civil rights marches that were met by billy clubs, fire hoses, and attack dogs.


The first actual personal experience I can remember with someone of African-American decent happened as a child in a park in our “big city” of Omaha where my parents were visiting friends. I had been playing hard, was thirsty and ran to a drinking fountain. A young girl with black skin beat me to the fountain. I stepped back and remembered what I had been told…”the darkies are dirty”. I passed on the drink.


Fast forward a decade, I am being dropped off at my first day of college where I am on a track scholarship. The school was attempting to bridge the racial divide by rooming athletes of different color in the dorms. I was assigned a room with Joe Wharton the star guard of the basketball team, an upper classman from Chicago who happened to be African-American. We hit it off immediately and became more than roommates…we became friends. He introduced me to music I still listen to today. He walked with me through a break-up with a gal I had set my heart on. He included me in parties and gatherings where I was the only white kid in the bunch. My experiences did not align with what I had been taught or had seen modeled.


Perhaps Mr. Rogers was right when he said: “Frankly, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story”. Maybe now, as much as anytime, is the time to step back from the rhetoric and accusations, cease in the attempts to out shout each other and listen. Just listen to someone else’s story.




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Irma’s Visit

Irma’s visit could have been much worse for us. Downed trees, debris, and some property damage…but we still have our homes. A loss of power for all, a loss of a little sleep for most, and a loss of income for some…but no loss of lives in the Cypress tribe. Rain, wind and minor flooding…but no storm surge upon our shore. Not every place and not everyone faired so well.


I can tell you that people all along Irma’s path prayed as fervently as we did during her long trek across the Atlantic, but I cannot tell you why some places in the storm’s path got slammed while Irma wobbled east at the last minute and we were spared the worst. I only know that I am grateful we got off as we did and now those of us with shelter and provision are to help our brothers and sisters who don’t.


The Cypress response to Irma will look like this: We will take an offering and the money will be dispersed in this fashion:

  1. We have members of the Cypress tribe who if they don’t work, they don’t get paid…and they didn’t work all week because their business was not open due to the storm. Nevertheless, their bills are still due.
  2. If there is still money available, we will help members of the Cypress tribe who had damage due to the storm that will not be covered by insurance.
  3. If there is still resources available from the offering then at this point we help people in our community who are  connected to members of the Cypress tribe who fit into category one first…category two later.


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The Best Time

This week I had a front row seat for the solar eclipse right smack dab in the middle of the “path of totality”. Two and a half minutes of sheer awe…baily’s beads, the diamond ring, corona, and an almost other worldly aura cast on the environment. Wow oh wow!


Afterwards we celebrated both the creator and the fact that we got to experience the moment together. Then I wondered, so now what do we do with the special glasses we purchased for the event? In the days leading up to the eclipse they were a hot commodity and stores ran out of stock. Today the market for the glasses is gone.


One day your kids will leave home. One day you will not be working at the job you have. One day the door of opportunity will be closed. The best time to act is yesterday. The second best is today.


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