Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"Look for the Helpers"

This morning, I am making a slow start to the day. Not only was yesterday packed with a week's worth of activity, the news of the bombing in Boston caught up with us late in the afternoon, bringing a somberness that won't be shaken.  We lived in the suburbs of Boston for two years and our oldest was born there.  We have many friends there still and our hearts break for them as their world has been shattered in such a horrible way.

A quote from Mr. Rogers, which surfaced after the Newtown shootings, has popped up in my Facebook feed over and over again. This precious man continues to bring comfort to us through his mother's wise words in this situation as well.

Without a tragedy to bring them to light, we often forget about the helpers. We forget about the daily work they do. It's easy to feel that evil is winning when violence erupts. Explosions are hard to miss. But the helpers quietly go about their lives overwhelming chaos with order, evil with good, apathy with love, ugliness with beauty.

My work is to make a place for people to connect with God and with one another in meaningful ways.  I do it through church on Sundays and I do it through art on the weekdays. And sometimes those days and ways over-lap.

This past Sunday, we explored the idea of prayer through a different lens. Rather than worship songs and a sermon, Robb mapped out stations where people could do different things to explore prayer:  One station, a mirror, where we see ourselves and dare to write over the reflection how God sees us.  A half moon of chairs allowed friends to sit together, pray together or pray alone.  One long table gave us access to a stack of canvasses and paint, to create as God creates. Two tall bar tables offered play doh where we were reminded of how we are being molded by God.  Scrabble letters spelled out where you are right now, within the confines of the letters available. Paper and pens were available for some to journal their thoughts and another corner offered soft floor pillows and a stack of Bibles opened for the practice of Lectio Divina.  At the center, a generous table full of artisan bread and grape juices, complete with butter and jam, where we are reminded of the connection of communion, the daily need for it, and the social-ness of it as well.

What good is all of this, some might wonder?   How is playing with play doh worship?  What will a wall full of naive paintings do for the pain of the world? The answer is this:  we joined together to forget ourselves and be caught up in the mystery and beauty of who God is. We were together as families, our children with us, painting and molding, praying and lighting candles. There was a quietness that was totally unexpected to me, all the while visiting with each other, getting acquainted in ways we don't normally on a busy Sunday morning.  I was not alone in escaping myself with a full paintbrush in my hand. There was a wholeness, a centeredness to the experience.  And then we left.

We.
We social workers who deal with the mentally ill with compassion and humor.
We teachers of kids in every state of development.
We poets.
We musicians.
We artists.
We mothers.
We fathers.
We doctors of spine and teeth.
We students.
We resident directors.
We teachers of those in prison and without their GED.
We unemployed and willing to help others while we wait.
We mathematicians and computer programmers who make music with different notes.
We doulas.
We carpenters.
We architects.
We farmers and real food enthusiasts.
We lactation consultants.
We bartenders, waiters and waitresses
We director and host of international students.
We receptionists and office workers and co-ordinators.
We marketing geniuses
We engineering professors
We professional organizers
We gym franchise managers and sellers of AFLAC
We millers of artisan grains
We restaurant managers
We massage therapists
We scientists
We sellers of used textbooks and other useful things
We

-all the other interesting and beautiful things that we are-

We helpers.

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