It’s all about the poop…wait…what?!

Last October Mike and I went to Cape May, NJ for our 28th wedding anniversary.  It was the first time we had ever been there and we LOVED it.  I may have loved it a little more because I would move there tomorrow if the opportunity presented itself.  It has a beautiful beach, cute shops, and amazing Victorian houses.    I could walk around and look at those houses everyday.

We did a lot of walking while we were there which is what we typically do.  We park our car and try to leave it put while we are on vacation.  It’s the best way to really take in the sights.  One of the spots we enjoyed was a 3 block outdoor shopping mall with brick laden sidewalks, cute little shops, and restaurants.  One day, when we were tired from walking, we decided to get a coffee and sit on one of the benches to rest.  We chose our spot and sat to enjoy some people watching.  Sitting right across from us was an older gentleman. He was dressed in a button down long-sleeved shirt with pants pulled much higher than they needed to be.  He was wearing a newsboy style hat and had a cane resting next to him.  Sitting by his side was a younger version of himself that we later found out was his son. He caught my eye because he kept giggling.  It was contagious.  I looked around to see what caused his amusement and that’s when I saw it.  The POOP!

Now don’t worry…it wasn’t real poop.  Right behind him was a store called “Just for Laughs,” and he had gotten his gag poop from there.  He had tossed it into the middle of the walking area and watched as people kicked it, stepped on it, or jumped out of the way to avoid it.  It was believable because many people brought their dogs with them.  Once I saw what he was up to, I couldn’t help getting pulled into the joke.  His eyes would squeeze tight and his shoulders would shake with laughter.  It got to the point that I stopped watching the people and just watched his reaction.  I laughed right along with him…like I said…it was contagious.  And when he realized that Mike and I had caught on, his joy seemed to increase and his laughter more boisterous.

This went on for some time, but he just wasn’t satisfied.  He got up from the bench, grabbed his cane, and slowly made his way back into the store.  He came out with some brand new poop that he felt was a little more convincing.  He tore it out of the package, threw it down on the ground, and a dog ran over right away to sniff it.  The man loved it. It was more realistic and he got some better reactions from it.  I’m not sure how long we sat there and watched this scenario.  It caught some attention and some other people stopped and enjoyed his joke with him.  There were some ladies sitting on the bench next to Mike and I and at one point they yelled over to him, “Pop…I can’t believe this is what you want to do on your 80th birthday!”  His birthday?  Well that just made the whole situation even better.  For his birthday, he wanted to trick some people with fake poop. And he got a big kick out of it…and we got a big kick out of him.  We eventually wished him a happy birthday and parted ways.

We went back to Cape May this past March and I took a picture of the store sign.  I told Mike I wanted it to be a reminder to me of that cute little old man.  He really made my day.  Pure joy in such a simple act. Sometimes I need that kind of reminder.  I haven’t been feeling so good lately and it’s really frustrating.  It’s hard when your brain is all “gung-ho” to do stuff and your body says “nope!”  I have a hard time not beating myself up about that when it happens.  And unfortunately it happens more often than I would like. This man was a reminder to me that sometimes you just need to sit back and enjoy the simple, silly things in life.  The stuff I want to get done isn’t going anywhere.  It will be there tomorrow and the next day.  Maybe if I’m not so hard on myself I will bounce back quicker and enjoy getting stuff accomplished.

Today I’m going to focus on rest.  I’m going to listen to a podcast I’m enjoying…and I’m going to remember a man’s birthday and his fake poop joke.  While I’m at it, I will let someone know I love them today.

Because love matters…

 

Hidden entrance…

I would often see these “Hidden Entrance” signs while driving in the car with my parents when I was young.  For the longest time I thought it meant that spies lived there.  I mean why else would there be a hidden entrance right??  If you are a spy, you don’t want people discovering you. So funny.

There’s a different kind of hidden that isn’t so funny.  I’ve been reading about it a lot today.  As you know, the Easter holiday was yesterday.  A day to celebrate our Risen Lord. A day to spend with family and friends.  And for some…a day to hide.

I’ve seen post after post on FB from friends that didn’t have a church family to celebrate with yesterday.  Post after post of family arguments because a child was too “friendly” with the person they love.  And post after post from friends who simply can’t share that they love someone.  Can you imagine that?  How did you feel when you fell in love?  Did you want to shout it from the rooftops?  Did you want to hold their hand? Did you want to give a quick peck hello?  Imagine not being able to do any of those things.

One of the most heart wrenching parts of my journey was when my son sobbed in my arms lamenting that he just wanted to be “allowed” to fall in love with someone.  He just wanted someone to love him the way that his dad and I had been able to experience love.  It’s been several years now and he has found someone.  It makes me sad that they don’t feel safe to show affection when in public. And by that I mean just a simple gesture of holding hands.  (I think we can all agree we don’t want to see people making out in public no matter who they are or who they love.)  I have made sure they know that they don’t have to “hide” when they are in our home.  I want them to have a safe place to be themselves.

Yesterday we celebrated one of the most sacrificial expressions of love.  Jesus’ death and resurrection.  No hidden entrance to God’s love.  Love not hidden, but proclaimed. I hope you had a chance to experience His love in some way on Easter.  I get choked up every time we sing a song in church that speaks of love.  Yesterday it was the song “Forevermore” by Jesus Culture.  The first part of the song goes like this…

Hope, hope is alive in me
For all the world to see
That You are good
Love, love changes everything
Your love has rescued me
Now I am Yours
You took hold of my life
Now all of my love is Yours
All that I have is Yours
My soul will praise
Forevermore, forevermore

Let’s remember God’s love for us.  Let’s think of that love when we ask someone to do something that we as straight people would never consider doing…hiding our love. “Love, love changes everything”

Because love matters…

Messy faith…

One of my favorite shows when my kids were little was America’s Funniest Videos (AFV). I really shouldn’t find some of the videos as funny as I do.  When they do a montage of people falling down…I’m done.  My kids used to say, “Breathe mom, breathe!” I would be laughing so hard.

One video that really stuck with me was of a boy and his dad.  They placed an egg in their microwave.  They got close to the microwave window and you could see the egg in its’ shell rotating round and round.  The timer went off and the boy carefully took the egg out. It was in a little glass dish and the camera zoomed in to see that the egg was cracked a little and then…BOOM!  The egg literally exploded.  It was all over the boy’s face, on the ceiling, the walls…basically everywhere.  It was such a shock, and it was surprising how big of a mess one little egg made. Luckily the boy wasn’t hurt…he thought it was funny.

Life can be messy.  Let’s face it…it not only can be messy…it is messy.  But what happens when your faith gets messy?  We just finished a series at my church called “Messy Faith.” It was a great series that went through a lot of the things that can make our faith a little more complicated than we may have bargained for in the beginning of our faith journey.  I’ve mentioned before how my faith got turned upside down 9 years ago when I found out my son was gay. There are times when I long for those days when everything fit neatly into a box.  It was comfortable.  But that longing doesn’t last because my faith is so much deeper now. Back then I thought I had all of the answers…today I hardly have any answers.  Isn’t it crazy that I prefer to be here rather then where I was years ago?  As strange as it may sound it is very freeing.

I’ve deconstructed my faith…and it doesn’t all fit back together the way it did before.  I look at it like a puzzle.   You start out with the pieces scattered about and little by little you fit together the pieces to complete a picture.  Suppose the pieces don’t complete the picture?   Have you ever put together a puzzle only to get to the very end and realize you were missing a piece or heaven forbid more than one piece?!  That can be so frustrating! That’s how I see my faith and the missing piece or pieces are all of my questions.  Now some people would throw the puzzle away if it was missing pieces.  But I wouldn’t do that…something drew me to that puzzle.  There’s beauty in the puzzle and I can get satisfaction from it even if it isn’t complete.  Would it drive me crazy at times?  Yes!  But I would remind myself of what drew me to the puzzle in the first place and this is what’s gotten me through those messy faith times.  Something drew me to God. And through this messy faith journey I have discovered a deeper sense of love that really can only be explained as super natural.  I wouldn’t trade that for anything.  In my own way, I feel like I am part of the mystery of God.  I think we can all find ourselves there if we let go and let our faith get a little messy.

Now there is something that I have to remind myself of often.  When life gets messy and especially when faith gets messy, there are emotions that are involved.  Sometimes it’s frustration.  Sometimes anger, fear, anguish…a whole variety.  I need to be mindful of my actions and reactions during these times.  I need to try my best to not let those emotions explode onto others around me like the egg that was microwaved for too long.  To be an ally to the LGBTQ community, I need to interact with people who aren’t always going to believe what I believe, act the way I would act, respond the way I would respond.  Am I going to let that hinder my message of love?  I try really hard not to let that happen.  It gets messy, but that’s when that super natural love I talked about comes into play.  God is pretty darn amazing (smile).

How’s your messy life?  Better yet…how’s your messy faith?  Not messy yet?  Just wait…it will be at some point.  Remember what drew you to the One who can bring you through the mess.  His love will get you through, and then share that love…

Because love matters…