Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dancing Over the Pain

FLASHBACK:  I keep replaying in my mind a really moving interaction I had with a dancer on our EVE strip club outreach a few Fridays ago.   Ya know...those moments when time halts and the minutes reel in their seconds to stand at attention in a hurried hush to see what will happen next?  It played out like this.

This dancer had spent months, or had it been years, surveying these odd creatures from across camp.  These women that return to the valley monthly with the simple message that she is valued.  That band of renegade nonconformists building welcoming campfires for the wondering eye.  She used to stand at a good measured distance.  Couldn't risk being burned again, but now she's begun to see their flame as a source of warmth and has been inching toward its light.  Her back stiff and always keeping prudent watch for intruders, guarding the padlock she has placed on her soul that only pretends to securely hold back her mangled past.  This would be the night she would entrust her house of horror to strangers.  The night she should would risk it all for love once more.

The relationship intentionally slow going; a crawling pace set to the rhythm of the low groan of creation calling out for that final hour of redemption.  There's a whisper in that tempo that woos you in.  It softly says, "follow me to freedom."  If moving too fast, it cannot be heard.  And those special ones on the fringes, they know what to look for in sojourners that have reached the other side.  They are on to the fast and furious lie of this society.

I was unwittingly perched there on the precipice of a miracle.  Standing at the edge of the gaping hole the ancient scriptures refer to as the gap, building the mystery with others suspended in this parenthesis of time.

Then she made her move.  From behind me, I feel arms wrap round, squeezing softly.  It was a calculated move.  In a language not bound by written symbol, a silent voice within those outstretched arms communicates this, "Oh no you don't!  I'm leading the giving this time." I reciprocate and my hands go up to greet her victory.  She hugs and we begin to twist back and forth; me cocooned tightly in the risky embrace of vulnerability she has taken. It is totally natural, totally right, totally glorifying.

We stand there embracing like two school girls having weathered the lunch room wars and the dodging of rocks from flirtatious boys on the playground.

Mischievous friends reuniting after a long and lonely journey through time, now standing in solidarity outside of it somehow.  Our souls exchanging messages of amazement that we have just had an encounter with Love.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Smile Factory

I needed a smile today and it came in the most unexpected way.  This guy here.

CONFESSION:  I was hurrying toward the exit at the local wholesale, when I saw the greeter positioned at the door.  The greeter is in charge of looking over your receipt and counting your purchases to ensure you have not added items to your cart after you've paid.  It's a measure of security, since Sam's Club saves its customers money by not bagging anything.  But it isn't a time saver.

So the thought of waiting in another line at the exit door, after you've already waited in line at the register, can really be taxing on the mind. It's an exercise in making sure my mind isn't going down the gutter with thoughts that don't edify God's creation.  I'm constantly battling this.   

Even though it was only going to take but a few seconds, my thoughts started to tilt to this man being an inconvenience.  Why does this guy have to be here when I'm running behind.   Luckily, I caught the conviction and tiltttttted my mind back.  Get back in line, Delissa's brain!  You Oger, you!  And just like that, my world and thought-life were open and expansive and free again.

"Howdy, did you find everything ok, ma'am?"

"Yes, I did!"

"Good, that makes Mr. Sam happy and me employed!"


This guy is funny and he is my new hero.

Mr. Greeter didn't treat me like just any other human being with a cart in a supermarket.  His words were delivered sincerely, as if he cared about my shopping experience.  You know why?  Because he did!  Just think if I would have robbed him the chance to give himself away by closing myself off to the voice of the Spirit.  This time I heard the whisper, slowed down and I got myself a smile!

I wasn't really in that big of a hurry anyway, yet I convinced myself I was.  Why?  Because the underlying pernicious lie is that humans don't have value.  That my precious seconds of possible productivity are more important than the flesh and blood standing in front of me.  As if I could be creating something better than a human being if I were more efficient.  THAT cracks me up.  There's a reason I refer to myself as an idiot.  :)

I smiled all the way back to my car.  Geez, this guy's a human, not a robot!  He's here trying to provide for his family and I was busy devaluing his efforts.  BARF  And furthermore, he's the reason I'm smiling now.  I wanted to repay this kind and funny gent and the whisper of the Spirit came again.  He'd feel special if you took his picture.  Nothing like having your picture made, so I whipped the car around and ran back in to take his photo.

"Mr. Can I take your picture?  I want to write a little story about how nice you are."

"Why sure.  Go on ahead!'

And just like that...we had ourselves a smile factory.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Work It!

"Prostitutes are in no danger of finding their present life so satisfactory that they cannot turn to God: the proud, the avaricious, the self-righteous, are in that danger." 
— C.S. Lewis 

I know I fall in at least 2 of those 3 categories Lewis lists. At times, all 3 I imagine. I might be better off outright prostituting. Lord knows I sell myself in so many other ways. 

I am friends with a lot of prostitutes. Like sister friends. We'll be riding in the car and they'll talk about "tricks" like it is an everyday sort of topic. I have to do one more trick to pay the electricity or to get school supplies or whatever it is.

My point is, it's just really natural to them. And I love that they let me into their lives. Even if we have just met, they are often transparent pretty soon into the relationship. I love that they love me enough to be real. A wonderful gesture of loyalty and trust.

And you know what, they accept this "church lady" right where she is, too. So when I talk about Jesus, they love me back the same. Even when I "trick" myself and think I'm doing an ok job that day with pride or whatever other sin I'm dealing with.

I wouldn't change my life for the world. And I certainly don't want to change them. They've taught me everything I know. And that is...I know nothing. But Luv does.
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