slip off your shoes.

“NO! I was talking to my HAND!!” The response from an imaginative, determined, beautiful, and independent three-year-old. I was just trying to answer her questions. Little did I know that she wasn’t really asking me. She was asking her hand, and I interrupted the conversation. It felt holy. Given permission and even an invitation to be party to these conversations here, in this family, feels holy.

~    ~    ~

I was sitting at a kitchen table that was not my own – exercising my “reasoning with a three-year-old” skills. These are skills that have not been used in a while and honestly, I rather enjoy it. There are no simple answers, and the right answers are not ALWAYS right. The answers that worked ten minutes ago maybe – and probably – won’t work in this moment. Over medicine and coloring, screams ring out. Medicine doesn’t want to be taken and someone else is mad that we won’t draw her mommy for the hundredth time. But underneath the piercing screams, little feet can be heard pitter-pattering across hardwood floors. And these moments seem holy.

~   ~   ~

The day was spent wrangling toddlers through a farmers market and selecting fine wine, cheese, and sausage. We even made a pit stop down the chocolate aisle to see if there was something we couldn’t live without. Now I get why my mom was so concerned about taking little me near anything breakable. I was terrified that we were fixin’ to buy about 23 bottles of assorted wine and beer. It didn’t come to that, so that was a win. After corralling and calming, I stood hand in hand with a bright beautiful three-year-old and watched the man operate the mechanical lift to restock the imported beer shelves. We waved and said hello, and I answered the same “What dat guy doin’?” question 17 times. I didn’t mind though. He smiled back and waved and spoke to her in his broken English. Standing there, waving like a doofus, answering the same questions over and over, and reminding her that “we don’t grab all the bottles, no matter how pretty they are,” something shifted. The German beer section suddenly morphed into holy ground. I’m surprised I didn’t slip off my shoes.

~   ~   ~

The moon slowly rose over the tree line and the air was crisp. You know, the sort of crisp at the beginning of fall, the one where you breathe deep and can feel the air resuscitating your I’ve-been-breathing-hot-for-far-too-long lungs. We decided it was a beer, wine, and hot wings night. We were going “camping.” It had rained the night before, the firewood was soaked through and only after pouring gasoline over embers seven times were we able to burn the lies frantically scribbled on notebook paper. The wine was poured, tears were shed, prayers spoken, and spirits lifted. We laughed so hard, you guys. And they weren’t surface level chuckles, but deep soul breaths of laughter and joy that would swallow us whole if we would just let them. And we did. Holy moments shared over wine and hot wings underneath the rising full Georgian moon; holy moments that breathed life into my lungs. I guess you could say it was a creation story all its own.

~   ~   ~

Underneath a string of white lights we drank good drinks and took too many, yet just enough, photos. We dreamed big and talked softly. Then loudly…then we talked loudly and laughed even louder. One of us ordered the only wine she was familiar with, another ordered a drink based on her personality (a fitting “the more you ignore me, the closer I get”), and the last of us ordered the most fantastic pomegranate and vodka known to man. We ate this stuff that the waitress swore was her favorite appetizer on the menu. That mess tasted like cardboard and we were supposed to dip it in a paste that seemed to be related to butter. So, lets just be real, we moved that party to a sandwich shop. Sitting at a wooden table, under more lights, raking my feet through the gravel, I realized the holy ground found us. Holy moments scattered through the streets and played loudly from a trumpet at Java Monkey. The cast of Wizard of Oz that waltzed onto the patio was given a private audience to the holy and they weren’t even aware.

~   ~   ~

Holy moments find us. At playgrounds, on patios, next to the campfire, under the moon, listening to good music, standing in grocery store aisles, answering questions, holding hands, eating sandwiches, and sitting at kitchen tables. Just like I was invited into these seemingly mundane and typical moments and found them to be holy, we are constantly invited to stand witness to the holy under our feet. Are you looking? Take a deep breath. Hold each as a creation story in the making. You have been created for the holy. I have been created for the holy. I’ll meet you there. And we can share a glass of wine and burn the lies to the ground. We will stand, hand in hand, dancing in the aisles where everyone says we shouldn’t.Image

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4 thoughts on “slip off your shoes.

  1. “It felt holy.” This makes me love you even more.

    Also, this: “There are no simple answers, and the right answers are not ALWAYS right. The answers that worked ten minutes ago maybe – and probably – won’t work in this moment.” Mmm. Yes.

    The image of you and she and the man with the forklift is SO DAMN BEAUTIFUL. I love you.

    “I guess you could say it was a creation story all its own.” Wow. Yes. Yes.

    And that last paragraph…oh friend, you take my breath away. Have I mentioned that I love you?

    p.s. your words remind me of J.D. Salinger tonight, the way they taste and feel in my mouth. and still Hemingway, too. Salinger with a side of Hemingway. SO good. When you write and publish your book, will you sign my copy?

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