The Thin Place
They call this the thin place. Like its a bit closer to heaven than everywhere else. But that's not it. The only way to describe this place is a little piece of Heaven broken off and landed right here on earth.
Time moves differently here. The days stretch out past bearable but aren't nearly long enough. The sky, the animals, the lake, the wind blowing on your face. It's impossible to take it all in at once. Sometimes, in the middle of the day, I have to stop for a minute, because I get that feeling like I'm dreaming. The sun has so much power here. The people are all beautiful and sun-kissed. It's hard to describe. Like their souls shine through.
To see the change that happens in these young adults is breathtaking, and it makes me certain I am not the one responsible. The kids all walk a bit lighter. Only hours after arriving you start to see the changes. The kids shed all these mask and personas they're used to wearing at home and at school, and for once they are just themselves. And you can see it. Like a giant weight has been lifted off of them and they are just happy. There's no place like this. I've seen kids take giant leaps of faith. "I'd rather die than go on that ride!" Is what one of the kids was saying, right up until he was voluntarily strapping on his harness. It's not surprising, the way the kids respond to the rides tells you a lot about where they are in they're faith. Some kids are opening up and just being honest with another person for the first time.
I wish everyone at home could see this place and see what happens here for themselves. My description can't do it justice.
Vintage Virtue: Civility
Recently, when getting together for “bonding” time with some co-workers, it literally took thirty seconds for someone to begin talking about a co-worker who wasn’t present and who had recently taken another position in a neighboring town. From our experiences and observations in working with her, she had crossed many professional lines and wasn’t very collaborative. In our hearts, I think we all hoped the best for her in her new position, but within the brief time my friends and I had together on that gorgeous sunny day, the friendly chatting turned to gossip without any hesitation. In retrospect, I realize how easy it is to put down others, especially when they are not in your current company.
Take a moment to think about the “reality” shows that populate your TV menu. Have you ever thought about how ridiculous some of the people sound and appear when all they are doing is arguing to make a point, not to make a difference or work to improve a relationship? How do you respond to conflict or to someone who holds differing beliefs than you? At times, the way we act and react is not so different than “reality” shows. We often impulsively personally attack whoever, in our own mind, wronged us and don’t take the time to practice civility.
Romans 12:10-21 can help us examine our civility during these emotionally heightened times: “10 Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle… Be alert servants of the Master, 12 cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. 13 Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. 14 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. 15 Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. 16 Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody. 17 Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. 18 If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. 19 Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it." … Your generosity will surprise him (your enemy) with goodness. 21 Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good..”
Remember, we are all sinners and we are all children of God. Practice civility to all and just get along!
God is with you!
Vintage Virtue: Responsibility
At some point in our lives, we’ve all littered, whether it was a small unnoticed gum wrapper falling from the floor mat as we open our car door, or the wind tearing away our extra napkins from our grasp as we take a bite into our summer festival favorite and choose to continue to enjoy rather than giving chase. Perhaps unintentional and seemingly minor, the litter becomes the responsibility of others to clean up and harmful to the earth for which God has charged us to take care.
Similarly, the responsibilities we all have that we unintentionally neglect or make excuses for not doing, can place mistrust and harbor resentment in relationships and allow us to shy away from a virtue given to us by God that we must cultivate. In this manner, we have not been honest with ourselves and life can fall apart before we see the pieces falling away.
Take time to reflect on your responsibilities to your family (financially, emotionally, etc.), to your work, and in other areas of your life; pray on God’s guidance and support in your efforts. As written in the gospel of Luke, “If you're honest in small things, you'll be honest in big things; If you're a crook in small things, you'll be a crook in big things. If you're not honest in small jobs, who will put you in charge of the store?” (16:10 The Message) Make a commitment to do what is yours to do—God is with you!