Friday, April 1, 2016

Seeing, in the city




I wonder if, on the other side, when change and tears are past, when what is between us is forever destroyed, will there be parks like this?

What will it be like to see each other then? When we see with holy eyes, will we see the whole, holy story? Will we be able to see each other, wildly different, wildly redeemed, and understand; truly understand the wholeness of a person, the full story, the gracious work of God in each person’s life?

---
written 8/13 in St. Louis

I sit in oustide a city park, country girl in the big city. A waft of greasy catsup invades my nose, only to be pushed away by a cloud of cigar smoke. I miss the cows and the corn.

It is challenging for me to find beauty here, but it is not impossible.

They walk by-- the stories, the people. Drama, tragedy, comedy, romance-- multi-colored stories parade past me, moving even more quickly than the smells. Exhaust now fills my lungs, but I will sit in it if it I must, so I can watch the stories.

I bet that one used to be in a fraternity. He is tan, in a baseball cap, and his cardinals shirt stretches over his middle-age belly. His calves are perfect, and he holds a beer. He walks with his shoulders back, chest up, belly out. Or is the belly dragging him along?

That one has too-big shorts and an afro, and a baby on his back. He pushes another in a stroller, and a third walks beside. We have much in common, I think.

That man must have be been a pirate. He still has muscles from hoisting sails, maybe just last week. I wonder what he did with his parrot?

A man, asking for money for “homeless children.” I don’t give, but I wonder if I should have. “Have a nice day m’am,” he says.

That little guy must be two, like Peter. He holds his body with the same confidence, belly-out, jumping, running. His skin is a deep black, and I bet it is soft like my son’s. I want to go pick him up, but that would seem creepy. (I wonder what Peter is up to.)

On the street corner, a heavy, well-dressed white man, holds his sign and his chin up high. I don’t know whether to argue with him or pray for him. I am glad I do not have to explain him to my children, not this time.

A mom heavy laden with bags, on her back, in her stroller. She pushes while the children play. Her daughter lifts up her dress to potty in the grass. Mom is mortified. I give her an look of understanding but she is hiding her face.

Well dressed and smoking, that man is taking a break from a job he hates, I bet. He does not notice the children in the fountain.

Rarely do those on the street make eye contact, except perhaps to exchange a tight-lipped smile. Their stories are locked in tight, and the skulking writer is left with her guesses.
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Still looking for beauty, but here in a different city. God is training my eyes to see. I am eager to read the stories in their glorious completion, and yet, there is much to celebrate even now, between chapters.

Beauty in the city. (more coming soon)

Have you seen any lately?

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