Stopped For Helping

News travels fast. I paid no attention, until as I left the store, after getting some fishing equipment, a manager tugged on my shoulder.

Wondered, why? Hadn’t taken anything I didn’t pay for. Had the receipt, actually a double receipt. I’ll explain.

The manager, couldn’t read his nametag as he blurred his name, “Sir, may I speak to you a moment?”

Didn’t think he wanted to order a novel, and I wasn’t pushed with an egg-timer-schedule, “Sure, what do you have in mind?” [Thought that sounded with a resonance that included not being miffed!]

He began, pointing to a mother and child leaving the store, the boy beaming. “I’ve never seen that before. Do you know what you did?”

Truth pushes, I had no idea what his problem was.

He continued, “The clerk said you paid for that boy’s NIKE tennis shoes, is he a friend of yours?”

Normally I can be as cynical as the next person, but set that aside, “No, I don’t know him. Never met him before and will probably never see him again. Why?”

“Well, you paid for him. Why did you do that?”

I then started my rankled posture, “Is there a law against paying it forward, no matter what race the one helped is? [The boy was black.] And, who knows? He could have been pink…I don’t care. I only pay attention to what color a person’s heart is. Including you! Maybe I just helped the next Kobe Bryant.”

He looked puzzled, I didn’t explain.

More, “I happened to be next to the boy, he pulled some cash out of his pocket to buy new tennis shoes and it hit me, why not? Why not say something to the cashier, which I did, asking him to let me pay for the shoes. Honestly? Not that big of a frickin’ deal. He’s a young boy and as I told the cashier, there’s not enough kindness in this world. I simply wanted to do it.”

I left.

As I got to my car, I heard a honk.

Looked up.

The boy was sitting in the backseat, his father was driving. As his father wiped tears from his face, “Mister, you have been an exception. Thank you for what you did for my son.”

The boy clapped his hands, yelled, “THANKS!” I clapped back and went on with life. GO, KOBE!

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Make Your Day Huggable–For You AND Others

This got my attention, Monday morning, July 16, 2018. Sure, I scanned, Evelyn Wood speed-reading-style, the various headlines, all of which you know about. No comment is best.

Then, I came upon this article [below]. It touched me. Really deep.

As I’ve shared often, my life has been privileged…no major illness or disease [except my addiction to fishing and supporting the Cubs and Broncos!], although I’m falling too much lately [not emotionally but literally—have to get that checked out]. The privilege comes in working with the military and police.

In the 80’s two Generals, Charlie Duff and Bill Greenfield, members of Broadmoor Church, nominated me to attend their respective War Colleges—Army in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania and Air Force in Montgomery, Alabama. Five-day seminars with the latest released confidential information about our military strength. Then for six years in Colorado Springs as a volunteer police chaplain, riding once a month. There were 30 other volunteer chaplains. We were called to the most critical situations, suicides, homicides and domestic warfare. The latter was the worst. Worse than worst.

Then, when serving in San Marcos at the First Christian Church, Chase Stapp and I became friends, Chase and his family so devoted to church membership. Chase is now the Chief of the San Marcos Police Department. He’s such a valued friend. And has been willing to serve as police counsel for my novels, making sure the charges and sentences have a good base.

Why all this? Because I KNOW what it’s like to ride in a police car, although not handcuffed in the back seat. I know the internal swirl when making a “routine” traffic stop, when the officer walks up to the car. I KNOW what it’s like as police do what they can to comfort victims.

Sure. You can provide hateful scenarios when police are not victims but victimizers. But, honestly, don’t dwell on any of that. This link, posted this morning on MSN.COM, touched my heart. How police have a ministry. I’m sending it to Chase and asking him to post it with his officers. Even more, I’m asking you to read the article, then see in this day [forget tomorrow and the future, this day alone] as you course through the day, can bring some value and benefit, at least an emotional hug to someone. You never know. They may need it. And, I’m guessing, so do you!

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/good-news/cop-prays-with-boy-before-brain-surgery/ar-AAA2l5o?ocid=spartandhp

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The Joyful River

Yes, it is true, in one of my novels the lead character [ahem!] says, “If there’s not fishing in heaven? I am not interested.” Yes, it is fiction, but it does underline my joy in fishing. This past week, my “forever” neighbor, Doug White [we were born the same year and lived less than a block apart], sent me this reflection from an United Church of Christ pastor. Of course, I loved it and am sharing it. Not that life’s relevance depends upon fishing, but I do have a t-shirt that says, “I fish; therefore, I am.”

Well, well, well. Enough of this self-promotion. I truly believe, not only because I’m headed to Portland in two weeks to join my wonderful friend, Zorba, in fishing for summer steelhead on the Columbia, but because this reflection says powerfully what I hope each of you takes to heart…in whatever way you can “cast your line.” [Hey, metaphors work I trust!]

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The Joyful River and the Road of Resistance
Emily C. Heath July 14, 2018
“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
for God has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.” – Psalm 24:1-2

On the Monday of the week when this country reached the point of literal children being held in literal cages at the US/Mexico border (or at least became aware of it), I found myself fly fishing on a river near another border: the Canadian one.

As I had driven north from my home, I passed a Border Patrol checkpoint on the interstate. Each southbound car was being pulled over and each passenger asked about their citizenship status. I drove on, knowing my driver’s license and passport card were safely tucked into my wallet, and that I could pass by easily.

Standing in the river later that day, I felt the weight of privilege press in on me. I didn’t have to worry about borders. I have not (yet) been threatened with my own cage. I had the means and resources to take a few days away from my work in order to do nothing more than fish. I would return to a comfortable home and the loving embrace of (for now) legally-recognized family.

I felt guilty that in a time when there is so much pain, I should have so much comfort. And yet, as I looked out at the river, rolling by me in a never-ending current, and at the trees and sky, and even at the beautiful colors of the rainbow trout I released back into icy-cold waters, I felt something else too: joy. God’s creation is too beautiful to not appreciate when we see it, and too awe-inspiring to not be taken seriously as well.

So much of surviving in this difficult time depends on our ability to be able to sustain ourselves for the work yet to come. There is enough work to do to keep us occupied every minute of every day. And yet, if we burn out now, in the early innings, the powers of oppression and death will prevail well before the game is over.

By Wednesday morning I was back at the work of “resisting the powers of oppression and evil” as our baptismal vows read. I did my work with a renewed mind and body, and a spirit full of courage and faith. I’d like to think that I did better work for the fact I’d had a little rest and a little joy.

This will be a long journey of resistance. We are going to need everyone for every step of the way. Do the things that let you keep marching. Take the trip. Take the nap. Take pleasure in the joyful things you love. They will help you to keep going, and they will remind you that God is always with us, on the seas, on the rivers, and everywhere.

Prayer

God, in the midst of the toughest days, may I still find glimpses of joy. Amen.

________________________________________
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emily C. Heath is the Senior Pastor of The Congregational Church in Exeter (New Hampshire) and the author most recently of Courageous Faith: How to Rise and Resist in a Time of Fear.

________________________________________

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The Joyful River

Yes, it is true, in one of my novels the lead character [ahem!] says, “If there’s not fishing in heaven? I am not interested.” Yes, it is fiction, but it does underline my joy in fishing. This past week, my “forever” neighbor, Doug White [we were born the same year and lived less than a block apart], sent me this reflection from an United Church of Christ pastor. Of course, I loved it and am sharing it. Not that life’s relevance depends upon fishing, but I do have a t-shirt that says, “I fish; therefore, I am.”

Well, well, well. Enough of this self-promotion. I truly believe, not only because I’m headed to Portland in two weeks to join my wonderful friend, Zorba, in fishing for summer steelhead on the Columbia, but because this reflection says powerfully what I hope each of you takes to heart…in whatever way you can “cast your line.” [Hey, metaphors work I trust!]

View in browser

The Joyful River and the Road of Resistance
Emily C. Heath July 14, 2018
“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
for God has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.” – Psalm 24:1-2

On the Monday of the week when this country reached the point of literal children being held in literal cages at the US/Mexico border (or at least became aware of it), I found myself fly fishing on a river near another border: the Canadian one.

As I had driven north from my home, I passed a Border Patrol checkpoint on the interstate. Each southbound car was being pulled over and each passenger asked about their citizenship status. I drove on, knowing my driver’s license and passport card were safely tucked into my wallet, and that I could pass by easily.

Standing in the river later that day, I felt the weight of privilege press in on me. I didn’t have to worry about borders. I have not (yet) been threatened with my own cage. I had the means and resources to take a few days away from my work in order to do nothing more than fish. I would return to a comfortable home and the loving embrace of (for now) legally-recognized family.

I felt guilty that in a time when there is so much pain, I should have so much comfort. And yet, as I looked out at the river, rolling by me in a never-ending current, and at the trees and sky, and even at the beautiful colors of the rainbow trout I released back into icy-cold waters, I felt something else too: joy. God’s creation is too beautiful to not appreciate when we see it, and too awe-inspiring to not be taken seriously as well.

So much of surviving in this difficult time depends on our ability to be able to sustain ourselves for the work yet to come. There is enough work to do to keep us occupied every minute of every day. And yet, if we burn out now, in the early innings, the powers of oppression and death will prevail well before the game is over.

By Wednesday morning I was back at the work of “resisting the powers of oppression and evil” as our baptismal vows read. I did my work with a renewed mind and body, and a spirit full of courage and faith. I’d like to think that I did better work for the fact I’d had a little rest and a little joy.

This will be a long journey of resistance. We are going to need everyone for every step of the way. Do the things that let you keep marching. Take the trip. Take the nap. Take pleasure in the joyful things you love. They will help you to keep going, and they will remind you that God is always with us, on the seas, on the rivers, and everywhere.

Prayer

God, in the midst of the toughest days, may I still find glimpses of joy. Amen.

________________________________________
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emily C. Heath is the Senior Pastor of The Congregational Church in Exeter (New Hampshire) and the author most recently of Courageous Faith: How to Rise and Resist in a Time of Fear.

________________________________________

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Dealing With Panic–Then And Now

I’m not a friend of panic, but I am an acquaintance.

Was August, 1968. My two clergy colleagues, Fred Trost and Herb Davis and I went to Lincoln Park. We held flyers that told the Hippies [not their pig nominee for President!] that they needed to leave Lincoln Park before 11 p.m. because Mayor Dailey had ordered it, reclaiming a 1918 law never before enforced, “Public Parks need to be left before 11 p.m. each evening.”

We got split up, but had a game plan to return a few blocks to our church at Fullerton and Orchard. I remember the horses, the police riding those horses. Then I had trouble seeing. Tear gas does that. I “thought” I would be protected, wearing a clergy collar. Suddenly got caught up in a fleeing mob, racing across State Street.

Before I knew it, I was more pushed than anything else, I felt it. The large show window of a car dealership. I could feel it bend. I lost breath and was seized by panic, thinking I would be the first to get pushed through bending glass that couldn’t help but break.

What to do?

Without thinking, no time for that, I dropped to my knees and crawled along the brick wall under the glass. I then got up and ran to the nearest alley. Didn’t hear the glass burst.

Then heard it, “Stop! Now!”

I turned, coming at me without pause was a Chicago policeman, waving his club like a band leadership. He could see I was clergy. My illusion of safety was shattered, when he took his club slammed it under my neck and lifted me off the ground.

This was worse than a car dealership window breaking. He let me down, I handed him a flyer, “Officer? I am the pastor at St. Pauls Church. We’re on the same side. We are bringing in as many of the protesters as we can, getting them out of Lincoln Park and off the street. Please know that.”

I don’t think he spit, but wasn’t smiling for the camera. Let me go without a word.

I walked and didn’t run along Fullerton to the church.

Passed our janitor’s house, he was sitting on his front porch as he had said he would, holding a pistol. He had shown me his firing range in his basement and said. “If any of those gd hippies get on my lawn, they’ll need a funeral.”

I yelled at him, “We’re getting them off the street; please go inside. You’ll be okay.”

He didn’t move. I went into panic again; didn’t want a funeral, for me or anyone else.

Got to the church, still shaking in fright, but calmed down as three of our oldest members greeted me in our church kitchen. They supported our church being a sanctuary place and had begun making soup—chicken noodle of course.

Why all this?

Because this morning, as my dogs walked me, thought of the full-panic time…and thought of our country. And didn’t feel good. Felt crappy. That’s as sharp as I can get. Heard all the mixed messages and saw the throng of people in London, not clapping, not in a cheering mood. Oh, my goodness.

Then Diane sent me a video, “Stand By Me,” and I felt the panic-for-our-country-lessen. Why? Because I believe, and I trust, and I value, that God will never leave us. Make that personal. God will never leave you or me. No matter what.

May we live in that trust and faith and keep the steps of our faith walking toward goodness and value, not running from trouble, and ask others, “How can I help you?”

Even if a club is not a baton leading a band.

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When Life IS Darkness

So powerful. And, perhaps, for many, not an expected result. When 12 boys and their coach were trapped by flooding waters in a cave. Darkness. No contact, except with each other. The coach, a former monk, kept the boys together. Taught them meditation. In darkness. Without contact with the world.

To say it was bleak is to say…you can figure your own expression.

The boys were celebrating one of their teammates birthday…bought him treats. Little did they know that would be their food. The coach refused to eat. Water dripped in the cave, their water supply.

Then contact. Then a rescuer lost his life, doing what he could to save others.

I now link the story and will keep it. So much happened for the good, when the day was the darkest. No one gave up or in. The rescuers came from all part of the earth. Coordination was the theme. No one said, “I’m in charge; get out of my way.” Forget that.

My heart is filled with awe and wonder and gratitude and gladness this morning. The twelve boys and their coach are safe. The coach’s first note was an apology to the parents. They never held their children’s fate against him. They KNEW he would do everything he could, even give his life if it meant the 12 could live.

So much is this about life itself, most especially when the world, our personal world, is dark, when it shutters closed and we cannot see.

On our front door hangs the sign, we put it up during Advent and Epiphany, BELIEVE. We’ve kept it up for Jason and his recovery. He is now navigating his steps and his life without a wheelchair and a walker. No sprints, but a walk around the block is a start. Thanks be to God. And thanks be to Diane, Jason’s mother. Guess it comes down to this: FAITH IS SEEING LIUGHT WITH YOUR HEART WHEN ALL YOUR EYES SEE IS DARKNESS.

Here’s the link. Will you do yourself a favor, turn off your “world gadgets” and read the article, then look into an emotional mirror and thank God for the light God shines to and for you, so you can be that light for those whom you meet.
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/how-did-the-boys-survive-underground/ar-AAzUxg1?ocid=spartandhp

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When Life IS Darkness

So powerful. So very powerful. And, perhaps, for many, not an expected result. When 12 boys and their coach were trapped by flooding waters in a cave. Darkness. No contact, except with each other. The coach, a former monk, kept the boys together. Taught them meditation. In darkness. Without contact with the world.

To say it was bleak is to say…you can figure your own expression.

The boys were celebrating one of their teammates birthday…bought him treats. Little did they know that would be their food. The coach refused to eat. Water dripped in the cave, their water supply.

Then contact. Then a rescuer lost his life, doing what he could to save others.

I now link the story and will keep it. So much happened for the good, when the day was the darkest. No one gave up or in. The rescuers came from all part of the earth. Coordination was the theme. No one said, “I’m in charge; get out of my way.” Forget that.

My heart is filled with awe and wonder and gratitude and gladness this morning. The twelve boys and their coach are safe. The coach’s first note was an apology to the parents. They never held their children’s fate against him. They KNEW he would do everything he could, even give his life if it meant the 12 could live.

So much is this about life itself, most especially when the world, our personal world, is dark, when it shutters closed and we cannot see.

On our front door hangs the sign, we put it up during Advent and Epiphany, BELIEVE. We’ve kept it up for Jason and his recovery. He is now navigating his steps and his life without a wheelchair and a walker. No sprints, but a walk around the block is a start. Thanks be to God. And thanks be to Diane, Jason’s mother. Guess it comes down to this: FAITH IS SEEING LIUGHT WITH YOUR HEART WHEN ALL YOUR EYES SEE IS DARKNESS.

Here’s the link. Will you do yourself a favor, turn off your “world gadgets” and read the article, then look into an emotional mirror and thank God for the light God shines to and for you, so you can be that light for those whom you meet.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/how-did-the-boys-survive-underground/ar-AAzUxg1?ocid=spartandhp

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