I tell the stories of the voiceless.
This summer I had the honor of serving as a Camp Pastor for Winshape Camps for Communities. While visiting various communities across the South, I had the incredible privilege of taking part in the stories of thousands of little 1st - 6th graders. While physically, mentally and spiritually overwhelming at times, it was words like this that reminded me of why the 16 hour days and long van rides were more than worth it.
Each week, campers would fill out what is called a “Spiritual Assessment Tool.” The last question on the card was, “If you could have someone pray for you, what are some things you would have them pray for?” And while there was your occasional “pray for my aunt’s friend’s brother’s kitten” prayer request, occasionally you saw the hurt that a 3rd grader can, in fact, experience.
"More time with dad" are words that I saw more often than I would care to speak of.
And while I wish I had some brilliant epiphany of what this means for you and I, the truth is found in the understanding that an 8 year old in Columbia, SC is hurting because he wants to see his dad more.
My immediate desire is to find where this dad is, shake him vigorously and show him this card while yelling in his face that his son is tired of seeing the back of his phone or the back of the newspaper or not even seeing him at all. I want to tell him to go home right now and give his son the biggest hug he’s ever given him. I want to tell him to take him outside and play catch or take a walk or roll around in the freaking grass or whatever. Just please please spend more time with your little boy!
This prayer reminds me that injustice doesn’t just live in the slums of Haiti or the huts of Africa or the brothels in cities around the world or in the halls of abortion clinics but also in the quiet middle class homes of America. It resides in the hearts of little boys and girls who just want somebody to listen or to help or to laugh or to just spend time with them.
So what do we do?
We remember their stories. We remember the stories of children who feel left out, forgotten and not worth our time. We cover them in prayer. We pray for the stories that reside in the homes we pass by every single day.
Yea, that’s what we do.
We remember the stories of the voiceless.
Think back to when you were a kid…
You know, when flipping over a rock and discovering 3 new types of bugs was cool. When simply digging a hole in your backyard became trying to figure out a way to get all the way to China. When normal cardboard boxes became expensive cars or spaceships or lighthouses.
Back then, discovery was inescapable. You couldn’t walk through your neighborhood without a beautiful realization of something you had never noticed before. Every bike ride or conversation or sleep over was the beginning of something extraordinary.
Where did we begin to think every day couldn’t be filled with wonder? Where did the arrogance come from of thinking beauty doesn’t live in the every day, ordinary things? At what age did we just get so busy, that we forgot to take the time to look around us and discover something beautiful.
We must take back our sense of discovery.
A “normal” day of work doesn’t have to be tragic. Take the scenic route on your drive home and get lost on purpose. Stop on the side of the road and pick a bouquet of flowers for your next door neighbor. Go on a hike and forge a new path. Go pet the puppies at your local pet store. Go watch a sunset from the top of a mountain. Go sleep in the bed of a truck and remind yourself how big God is. Pick up a rock and play with a lady bug. Go ask a married couple questions about what it means to spend their entire life with someone. Run in the rain. Play in the mud. Get in trouble. Read books.
Ask questions. Write stuff down. Create something. Go on an adventure.
Discovery doesn’t end with your childhood. Life is full of magnificent discoveries.
Looking for truth? Uncover it in a conversation with your friends.
Looking for hope? Notice it in the promise of a rainbow.
Looking for love? Read the Bible and remember what God did for you.
Looking for beauty? Watch a sunset paint the sky.
Looking for life? Discover it under the rock you kicked in the soil.
Looking for opportunity? Create it with the clerk behind the cash register.
Look at each moment through the lens of knowing discovery lies in the most common of places.
All you have to do is stop and take a look around.
I’ve had lots of messages and emails recently asking about the blog hiatus…
1) I am working as Camp Pastor for Winshape Camps for Communities and have ZERO time to blog.
2) I have some big things coming in the fall and want to make sure I’m ready to go.
So, for those of you who care - THANKS! I’ll be back soon enough. Be on the lookout for a post or two in the next month or so.