A Place At The Table

You know that feeling when you walk into the lunchroom in junior high or high school, and you hope there will be a place for you to sit? I'm not talking about a vacant seat. There will definitely be one of those somewhere, because most likely the school has figured out how many students are enrolled and they've bought enough chairs. I'm talking about a place to sit where you are welcome. A non-hostile environment where you won't be an outsider or a nuisance or a nobody.

...I said I wanted to be a rabbit.

I frequently refer to myself as a "quirky bird". I have always been this way. I remember this one time in five year old kindergarten when we sat in a circle and each kid was asked to share what they wanted to be when they grew up. I don't remember the other kids' answers but I imagine some wanted to be teachers and firemen/women and police officers and doctors and nurses. Things like that. I do remember when it was my turn I said I wanted to be a rabbit. This is where my memory gets foggy again. How did my teacher respond? Did she go along with my plan to become another species when I grew up or did she correct me? I don't know. But I'm pretty sure I was the only one who answered like that. I was convinced that I could become a rabbit, and that in fact the transformation had already begun. I remember wondering if anyone had noticed…Well, I'm grown up now and not a rabbit, and don't plan on becoming one, but I continue to have an unusual perspective.

You're one of us.

I had a wonderful dream many years ago that still comes to my mind pretty often. I dreamt I was outside at night. It felt like summer. The grass was green and stars were out, and I could hear the sound of a fair and see the ferris wheel just over the hill. I was barefoot. A group of unusual looking people walked up to me. I talked to them and said, "Who are you people?" One of them answered, "We're the Luna People. We only come out at night. You're one of us." And I remember
feeling so incredibly relieved that I belonged with these people. I had a place.

there is a place for them at God's table.

So many people feel out of place or worse—like they have no place in this world. Maybe it's because they are quirky birds who want to become rabbits when they grow up. Or maybe it's for some totally other reason. But the truth is that everyone was once an idea in God's mind. And because they came from Him they belong in Him and with Him. I hope that people feeling alone will hold on tight to the truth that there is a place for them at God's table. And their Luna People do exist even if they haven't met them yet!

~ Amy 💚

Beauty & Brokenness

I love the Looney Tunes episode where the Abominable Snowman picks up Daffy Duck and says, "I will love him and pet him and call him George." I think everyone loves that episode. My favorite part is when Daffy says, "I'm not like other people, I can't stand pain, it hurts me." That line comes to my mind more often than you'd think. Because so often I find myself thinking, "I hate pain!" And that sentence is linked forever in my mind to Daffy Duck. Clearly, I'm a very stream of consciousness kind of person… and not especially mature. 

And as much as I hate pain, I love happiness. I'm pretty sure I've just described the sentiments of everyone on the planet. One thing I've noticed about suffering though is the way it joins people together. We can relate to one another's pain and brokenness. And if anyone seems above pain and brokenness—if they seem too perfect, with happy families, perpetually clean houses, successful jobs, great marriages, impressive children, we can't relate to them at all.

We prefer to hide shame and display awards...

Everyone knows that social media can be misleading. Sometimes it appears that everyone is perfectly happy, well adjusted, and thriving. Holiday cards can be like that too. Pictures of happy, clean looking families with words like JOY scrolled across the image. And I love those pictures. I save them and string them on a garland across the mantle. No one wants holiday cards with pictures of people weeping or yelling or shaking their fists. I wouldn't display those. Although I will say, once one of my best friends sent me a Christmas card with a picture of her whole family running from a giant photo-shopped cat, and I definitely displayed that one. But my point is that it makes sense why people make Facebook updates about their kids making the A honor roll but they don't typically make posts about their kids feeling desperately lonely. And there are plenty of "Happy Anniversary to the greatest husband or wife ever" updates but very few that say, "the last 12 years have been a real nightmare". It's because pain is personal. Happiness isn't. That's why there are award ceremonies instead of shame ceremonies. We prefer to hide shame and display awards. And it really would be weird if it was the other way around. But it's so tempting when we look at status updates, holiday cards or award ceremonies to start believing that we are alone in whatever pain we're suffering and that everyone else is fine. And that simply isn't true.

...make the effort to acknowledge unspoken brokenness...

This world is full of beauty and brokenness. When we're on the outside looking into other people's lives through such a  limited keyhole view, we have to make the effort to acknowledge that there is more than what we see. There is pain that this person isn't shouting out to the world, not because they are trying to mislead other people, but because they don't feel safe sharing. We, as the viewers, have to make the effort to acknowledge unspoken brokenness or we'll find ourselves in false territory. I've found myself there many times!

~ Amy 💚

Everywhere I Look, I See Stories.

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I absolutely LOVE the feeling of the beginning of a good story. I don't just mean when I'm reading a book. I mean in life, when I meet someone or see something out of the ordinary that feels like the beginning of a wonderful story. It gives me chills. It happens really often.

There's this one walk I like to take where I pass a number of big rambling, mysterious houses. They are mysterious because I never see any people outside and I have no idea who lives there and what they do all day. One of the houses has lots of windows and the curtains are nearly always drawn, except in one window at the very top of the house, and the yard is full of perfectly spherical shrubs. I cannot even tell you how fascinated I am by this. I love it! Stories fill my mind when I walk past, and I've written some of them down. I call that house "The Circle House" because of the shrubs. There's another house that is really huge and sort of looks like a castle. Over and over again I see three big black crows in the yard. Why? I don't know, but I find it wonderfully fascinating. I like to imagine that the crows are actually the people who used to live in the house, and they're wondering when in the world will someone—ANYONE—realize they've been turned into crows!? Wouldn't that make a great story? And I've noticed that bats fly circles in the air above this one house high up on a hill when it's getting dark outside. That is totally like a story!

I think that looking for, or at least being open to, the beginning or the unfolding of stories can make life more beautiful. It transforms the mundane, and it helps me to regard certain moments in my own life story with curiosity—with a sense of wonder regarding what might be going on underneath. I think that sense of wonder and curiosity is intertwined with faith—the idea that something really is going on underneath. There really is a story. That idea is powerful. It fights against fear and it grows courage the way that seeds grow flowers.

~ Amy