Wednesday, July 12, 2017

On Waking Up and Benches and Neighbors

For a long time, I've felt like I have nothing meaningful to say. No deep thoughts. My thoughts consist primarily of things such as: when did Maddie fall asleep, did Rachel take a nap yesterday, how many cases do I have for work today, what time is it, oh it's lunch time, what should I make for lunch, my kids are crazy, I need to play with them, they are so cute, ahh girls stop hitting, and the ever famous WHAT'S FOR DINNER. Deep thoughts, I know. The what's for dinner post is for another day. But a couple weeks ago, I decided I have to beat my kids out of bed if I ever wanna have time to have a thought beyond the basic needs of life. Which is tricky, since they currently sleep with us and Rachel basically lays on top of me and wakes up the second I move. But, I've been managing about 65-70% of the time to sneak out before she's up. I've been walking my dogs (which is what you should do every day if you have dogs, just FYI... my poor puppies), and then sitting on our new deck looking at our sweet yard (which I just love and is also another post) with my bible and coffee. Trying to limit it to those things. So I've had some actual thoughts, I think, in these moments, but never wanted to grab the computer to write. Because, what a hassle, and besides, I don't actually like to write all that much.... but that is besides the point. 

Anyway, yesterday morning I was walking down our street with Emma and Baker and came upon a bench. It's almost directly across the street from my house, so it's not new to me, but I've never sat down on it. Just a lonely bench engraved with the words 

"Rest in the shade"

So, for the first time in two years, I sat down. And there's a little journal and pen (and kids' book too, which I loved) stuck in the armrest of this little bench, so I pulled it out and started reading. It's Journal #3, and in the front someone wrote a note about this being the third journal and how the others have been filled up by neighbors and people just passing through and how we all can bond through this bench. And then I read through other entries. One girl was just passing through and was headed to Kansas for a new job next week, another few people commented they also just for the first time stopped and love this idea. A man named Mark commented a few times to those posts "come back, write again, stop and rest again." One girl, Laura, mentioned how she is depressed and often wants to kill herself and this bench and the hope in this journal keeps her going. 

I wondered what I could add to such a little book. Most entries were just saying hi, but there was depth to some, and Laura's in particular, that struck me. She trusted this little book and the people reading it. I prayed for Laura and jotted a little note about it being my first time stopping also, and then I wrote 2 Timothy 1:7 

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 

I don't know why that verse, and I don't wanna be that person who throws scripture out there in the first interaction like I know it all and turns people away, but I also know that God is real, and powerful, and he conquers fear. And sometimes, well, usually, well, most always, the word of God is living and active, and more powerful than any words I can speak. And I dunno, I felt like the journal needed the name of Jesus in it. I hope Laura comes back, and I hope Jesus speaks to her and she hears his voice. I hope she knows she doesn't have to be afraid and she is not alone. 

I'm so thankful that I have absolute Hope in Jesus Christ, the living God. God is real, and alive, He is Love and Truth and Peace, and He is the ultimate authority. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). I believe that. I just want to be bolder about that truth.

I'm so thankful for strangers, and how something like a bench and a journal can bring people together and somehow, I feel like I know Laura and Mark and the girl in Kansas, even though I don't. I'm thankful that some neighbor at some point decided to pay for a bench on the sidewalk. I'm thankful that bench is on my street. I'm thankful I stopped for 5 minutes. I have to remember that stopping for five minutes often has much greater reward than I would have thought. 

All that to say, I think I'll stop again sometime and check in on my friends in the journal. Maybe I'll bring Maddie and Rachel and they can read the kids book together. Or maybe we can pray for Laura together. I dunno. 

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