Peace. We hear a lot about it. Or the lack of it. We talk about it when we talk about the Olympics. Or Syria. Or anywhere there’s been a shooting at a mall or school. In a few weeks I’m heading back to Israel/Palestine with an organization called Telos that has the goal of working with evangelicals to help positively transform the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, and pro-peace. I thought it might be timely to share two posts from a couple years ago. Here’s the first.
Last week I was driving around running errands, preparing for our daughters to arrive for a visit and for me to leave for Israel/Palestine. I changed into the left lane to zip ahead of an old blue-green mini station wagon. As I accelerated past I noticed the car was significantly bashed in as if from an accident. A man was driving the car, smoking a cigarette and talking on his cell phone.
Confession. Here are the three thoughts that went through my head: This guy is irresponsible, unsafe, and makes unhealthy choices. Continue reading
You see, I have this table at Starbucks. It’s “mine“. Everyone knows it’s my office of sorts. Every morning I arrive early and work there for several hours.
The toddler who peeks around the corner each day looking to share his cheese crackers with me knows where I am.
The ever-present chatty Brit – the “Norm” of our “Cheers” knows where to find me.
Mark, the doctor, stops by to say “hi”.
Anyone who ever meets with me ever knows where to come.
I like to think it’s a place where kingdom work is being pursued.
And I like to think there’s a special ambiance or aura around my table. I feel more inspired when I sit there. It’s comfortable. I can spread out. And it’s the perfect distance from coffee and people. Close enough to be convenient, and far enough to not be interrupted too much.
So here’s the problem. Continue reading
I played a tennis match awhile ago against an amazon-like woman who wore her anger like the too-tight tennis dress she had on.
I tried to talk friendly. “Wow it looks like you’ve been somewhere warm!” I said admiring her tan.
She glared at me. “No. No place,” she said emphatically. “I just do this for tennis.” indicating a self-tanner.
“Have you played long?”
We played. She scowled more. Gave terse answers to my attempts to get to know her. Told me I was flat-out wrong on a line call. She got mean.
She scared me. Honestly!
I started praying while I played “Lord what is going on with this woman?” This is crazy. This is stupid soccer mom tennis, not Wimbledon.”
“Hurting people hurt people.” I heard in my head. Then I realized it wasn’t anger she was wearing, but shame. And sadness.
After the match I tried once again. It turned out she was just back after maternity leave. I’m sure she had been up with a baby and was sleep-deprived. It became clear she was feeling fat and ugly and not at all “herself”.
I remember those hard-to-feel-beloved-when-you’re-so-cross-eyed-tired-and-barely-have-time-to-shower days.
It made me wonder how often we mistake shame for anger. We see the battle fatigues someone is wearing and miss the tattered t-shirt of pain hiding beneath.