Grandbaby

Jessie meets Isaac
My daughter meets my son for the first time. Photo by Maggie Sebastian, Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0

Though the big event is still several months away, my hands know the softness, the feel of his healthy pudginess. My arms and back anticipate his weight. The soft, smooth feel of his hair long ago embedded themselves on my soul. Even the texture of the unpleasant, though common, are familiar. The feels of my unborn grandson are already writing themselves to my hard drive.

My nose tingles when I think of the smells. Both virulent and healing aromas weave themselves together in memory and hope. The smell of both rancid and aromatic are equally regarded when they tangle with my already boundless love for the boy to come. Hasn’t he always been? (Jeremiah 1:5)

Impulsive, divine tears and silly grins compete for top bill at the sounds of giggles and gurgles months before the first sound wave reaches my ear. Angst and worry have their moments as well when I well up at shrill sounds of illnesses that will have to be endured by the small one. He won’t understand and my heart will break. My limbs tense into rescue mode as I think about the communication sounds that will burst forth from one so new to earth.

The half-smiles, the pout I’ll love so much, that expression my son used to make that I’d forgotten, and even my grandfather’s nose have already inscribed themselves upon my heart. All of God’s hopes and dreams have conspired to create this winsome sight.

I can taste the boundless joy. My own, that of the remarkable woman who carries him in her womb, my very tall baby boy, and the confident and optimistic God who still believes in humanity.

Such a Tease

Such a Tease
Tease. Photo by Tim Graves. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/
Tease. Photo by Tim Graves. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/

The butterfly is such a tease.
She flits. She sits.
I focus my lens, she’s gone.

The butterfly is a such a friend.
She’s here. She’s there.
I need her, she doubles back.

The butterfly is such a dancer.
She box steps. She moon walks.
I’m unimpressed, so she pirouettes.

The butterfly is such a joy.
She sparks smiles.  She enhances meadows.
She brings hope through her short-lifed presence.

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Through Others’ Eyes

Through Others’ Eyes

I am at the IDEC (the International Democratic Education Conference) in Boulder, Colorado. This is a uniquely structured, “unlike any other” conference of educators and students that is hosted each year in different locations around the globe. I am here seeking inspiration, to learn from my global kindred, and to be among people who envision a future in which every child and adult is affirmed as a beloved, respected individual.

My home-base group includes people from the UK, Mexico, Japan, and multiples US states. Photo by International Democratic Education Conference 2013.
My home-base group includes educators and others from the UK, Mexico, Japan, and multiple US states.IDEC 2013 includes participants from 36 countries. Photo by International Democratic Education Conference 2013.

One of the features of the conference this year are home-base groups. Each day, we meet with the same small group to reflect on our experiences of the day.

I was struck by the juxtaposition of two reflections shared by two women this afternoon: one from England and the other from Japan.

Having spent some time observing people on Boulder’s Pearl Street (a closed street area of shops and restaurants) a woman from England characterized Americans as a people of openness and generosity. Describing the interactions between people and a street performer she said, “What a wonderful culture!”

I confess I felt pride in my homeland as I listened to her. Yes, despite our problems, we are a good people. However, I was quickly reminded that we’re also a people who are capable of unleashing violence on others.

Today was the 68th Anniversary of the nuclear strike against Hiroshima, a fact which was not in my consciousness. It was, however, on the mind of a Japanese woman in my group. She lamented the destructiveness of nuclear weapons and the danger of nuclear power as evident in the Fukushima disaster. I detected no anger with Americans; she never mentioned us. However, our role in this human tragedy was not lost on me.

Her sadness with the evils humanity can wreak were superseded by her passion for changing the world. A young woman, I felt hopeful listening to her speak on this disgraceful anniversary in human (and American) history.

Human beings are messy. The same people — my people — who are open and generous are also capable of great evil. The truth is that humanity is imperfect and fragmented. Yet, at IDEC I feel hopeful; it doesn’t have to be this way.

And so this evening, I simply pray that we find the holy within each other that we might realize we are One. When we do, we will be reluctant to harm one another. When we do, I am convinced that God will dance a jig of joy!

I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 CEB

Circle of Resurrections

Circle of Resurrections

In the hot July sun, I discovered a little shade beside a dribble of a waterfall. Sitting sipping from my water bottle, I discovered new life beside the holy rocks. Beneath the stagnant pool was full of polliwogs darting with youthful exuberance.

The hot July creek doesn't so much flow as it drips. Photo by Tim Graves
The hot July creek doesn’t so much flow as it drips. Photo by Tim Graves
At the base of the summer falls, new life danced beneath the surface. Photo by Tim Graves

At the base of the summer falls, new life danced beneath the surface. Photo by Tim Graves

Journeying the same path today I paused again for a sip from my water bottle. Sitting on the hard rock, I closed my eyes to listen to the powerful tumble of the spring waters. Rising above the sound of the cascading waters, the ribbits of frogs confirmed that this was the same holy ground upon which I sat last July. Nature with its endless cycle of death & new life tells us about the nature of the Creator.

The dribbling waters of July give way to powerful baptismal falls. Photo by Tim Graves
The dribbling waters of July give way to powerful baptismal falls. Photo by Tim Graves
The pool beneath the falls await the time when it will once again teem with exuberant youth. Photo by Tim Graves
The pool beneath the falls await the time when it will once again teem with exuberant youth. Photo by Tim Graves

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 NRSV (Read in context.)