|[the kids listening to Mrs. Phebus's bible story - they are spell bound by her!]|
Beautiful things are growing here in our neighborhood. It seems that everywhere I look I see community sprouting up, and there is even fruit of it in our children's lives. I recently had the wonderful opportunity to attend a luncheon benefitting a charity called Women of Vision. Women of Vision is a partner of World Vision and they help sponsor our KWAV's group. The keynote speaker was Father Gregory Boyle, author of Tattoos on The Heart. His talk was about "Kinship" and he told the most beautiful stories about his journey living amongst gangsters in the inner city. He is an amazing man. One of the MANY morsels that I took with me as I left his presence was that we have these opportunities to walk along side of others and remind them that "They are exactly who God thought of when He created them." He referenced the line in the well-known Christmas song, "Oh Holy Night" that says, "and the soul felt its worth."
I look around me in this neighborhood and see moment after moment of kinship - hands reaching out and taking hold of a soul in need of reminding of its worth.
Here are some glimpses of what I see ...
...Families rallying around families in our neighborhood who have experienced huge losses this year. Meals are being prepared with love and families are being held up by loving arms that tenderly care.
...One of our 3rd graders at our neighborhood school was recently diagnosed with cancer and in anticipation of his chemo treatment and subsequent hair loss, his fellow 3rd grade buddies have rallied around him and shaved their heads in solidarity with him.
...The young daughter of one of our teachers at our neighborhood school has also been diagnosed with a brain tumor and the students at our school have rallied around Piper by forming the "Piperazzi" and are selling all sorts of merchandise. Families are rallying around Piper's parents by contributing support and throwing carnivals.
...We got to visit The Isaiah House and help with dinner preparation for the gals staying at the house that night. The Isaiah House is a home that has been converted into a shelter for women and children who are homeless. It is a beautiful home in the heart of Santa Ana that is run by beautiful people. The kids had so much fun helping out and were begging to be allowed to come back soon. Such a gift.
...I am mindful of the many moms who show up each week to help us pull off this thing called KWAV's. We have a mom who faithfully shows up every week and without a peep has the entire field set up for soccer games that the kids come sprinting towards after school. We have moms that drop off snack and moms who help us set up and tear down our activity room. We have a community that is rallying together to dream bigger for our kids. We are dreaming of soft hearts, compassionate souls, kids that look to be bucket fillers, and hearts that follow Jesus.
|[our soccer field : the calm before the storm]|
And the soul feels its worth.
And yet, we know this is just a drop in the bucket of possibilities as a community. I think about how we get these little tastes of walking out life with intention and eyes to see others on the fringes and the intention to reach out and pull them near. I think about what it looks like to slow down and know our neighbors so that we may enter into their highs and lows. I think about how we can walk down our streets while whispering prayers of hope and blessing for our neighbors. Our dreams for our children are really dreams for ourselves - that we may ourselves be bucket fillers. That we may love our neighbors as we would want to be loved and be ready to share God's hopeful whisper: "You are exactly who I was thinking of when I thought of you."