Three years ago I found myself sitting in my car in a parking lot on a Friday night. I knew I needed to get out of the car and go in but I was afraid. I was also desperate, and that night I let desperation win.
I got out, walked across the parking lot and pulled the doors open. I was greeted by the distant sound of people singing. I made my way across the lobby, and into the sanctuary where I quietly slid into the back row. Before the first song ended I was fishing tissues out of my purse to try to stop the flow of tears. For the first time in a long time I felt safe.
It’s what we all long for, what we all plan for. We dream of falling in love with the ideal person and having the ideal marriage, with 2.5 ideal kids and an ideal golden retriever, living in an ideal home with an ideal picket fence and ideal car parked in the drive way. We plan for the ideal college to accept us with the ideal amount of financial aid and an ideal degree which will lead us to an ideal job field where we can use our talent to advance our ideal career.
Jesus and Peter had many encounters involving water, boats, and questions.
“Will you follow me?” Mark 1:17
“Do you trust me?” Matthew 14:29
“Do you love me” John 21:17
Three questions. Three encounters. Three defining moments in Peter’s life.
“There are no small parts, only small actors.” Constantin Stanislavski
I’ve been on both the receiving and giving end of that line. As a director I’ve said those words to many students who just found out they didn’t get cast as the lead and are feeling disappointment. With all of my heart I believe those words to be true. There are no small parts. Every part in every production serves a vital role. I know this to be true, and because I believe it, I have often quoted it.
I’ve also been on the receiving end of that line. In High School when my drama coach said that to me I immediately responded with “yeah, right” (eye rolling might have also been involved). I still feel that way sometimes. Sometimes life seems so small and so unimportant that I find myself questioning whether my part in it matters at all.
“I am lonely, yet not everybody will do. I don’t know why, some people fill the gaps and others emphasize my loneliness.” ― Anaïs Nin
Can I be honest?
It’s been a rough week. One of those “seriously if one more thing…” kind of weeks. It started out pretty subtle. A minor annoyance here, an unwanted thought there, but has continued to escalate to the point of a full out break-down with an ugly cry last night.
The first thing you notice about Jasmine is a smile that lights up a room and soft, welcoming eyes. But, sit down with her for just a few minutes and you’ll be surprised by the road she’s traveled. I was surprised to learn that this beautiful, put-together mom spent six years of her life trapped in the sex industry where she was beaten, abused and turned to drugs to cope with the reality of a life she never agreed to.
My car was packed and loaded with teenagers, suitcases, snacks, and one mom who was so beyond ready to get out of town and head to a cabin in the woods for a few days. We were making good time with the cruise control set on 65 and gorgeous scenery rolling by outside of the windows. In just a few short hours we would be at the cabin where there would be no work, no agenda, no schedule. Just days filled with fun.
Then we turned down Peter Cave Road.
I’m not a really big fan of games, but from time to time my family twists my arm and makes me play with them. If I do have to play a game I have my favorites; Scrabble, Boggle, and Taboo top the list. Notice a theme? I love words and word games.
Taboo is one of our family favorites. A quick refresher in case you haven’t played in a while: each team is trying to get their teammates to guess the “secret word” the only problem is there’s a list of words that are “taboo”. If you say one of the taboo words someone on the other team will buzz you. Buzzing people just happens to be my son’s favorite part of the game. I hate getting buzzed. Just when I seem to be on a role and getting lots of points for my team I’ll let one little word slip, hear that awful buzz in my ear, and be completely derailed.
To celebrate the first day of summer vacation my kids and I went to the movies yesterday. We love a good story, and God often uses story to show me truths about who He is and provide me with great conversations to have with my kids about our faith. Yesterday was one of those experiences.
If I were still a children's pastor I'd load up all my older kids and take them to see Maleficent this weekend. After the movie I'd take them all out for ice cream and ask them the following questions (serious spoilers ahead)...