She looks worried

She looks worried – 

Sitting there on the northbound metro train.

Purple sweater over purple button up. Hugging her bag as her mother’s thigh in her seven year old clutch.

The gold ring holds cheap to her right ring finger.

Simple pearl earrings hidden in a mass of black hair – waved – softly tangled and half pulled from her face. 

She might have been crying last night. 

She may finally be leaving.

But for right now she simply looks white washed and worried on the northbound metro train. 

Written on a Tuesday morning on metro to airport after long weekend in Portland, Oregon 

The Balcony Women

I could tell right away I was going to like the balcony women. 

But the story doesn’t actually start there…

It started a few weeks ago, when I noticed I incorrectly used a semi colon in a post. 

I decided that at some point, when I sit to do some weekend reading, I would flip a coin to determine whether I would substitue my Rumi book or the recent issue of Time for my punctuation guide in order to review a few things. 

Then – 

(Because that sounded boring.)

I decided to just start praying for my punctuation instead.

Specifically, I decided I would commit to prayer both my grief of past public misuse of a semi colon and the future hope of proper public use of a semi colon. 

Ok – so now that you have that little back story, let’s talk about tonight – at Bible Study Fellowship – where the whole deal is you meet with a small group to go through the study you did that week then rejoin with the whole lot for a lecture. 

Alongside my goal to break down these early themes of Revelation into the modern day plot of life, please note I am also trying to figure out where I want to be physically during lecture time. 

Not only am I trying to keep a low profile – honestly – a Bible lecture seems like the perfect time to get some yoga in, too.

I followed a woman from group time to what I thought was the stair well down. It ended up being the stair well *up* to the balcony where I found a warm little corner that had a waist high ledge for my notebook and adequate space for me to probably somewhat obnoxiously stretch while learning about prophecy. 

Immediately, I noticed I hadn’t simply perched up above in this balcony. Rather, I entered a community. The women sat facing one another, happily exchanging spoken words, lightly touching one another on the arm as they laughed.

Adamant to keep my resolve to manage BSF to a somewhat quiet part of the week (no volunteering for me, no hand raising), the only real gracious thing I did up on that balcony was I sat down. (No yoga) This way I didn’t block any views or cause a distraction. 

I could have moved further back, but – like I said – I found a warm spot which (as a cold person) I have a hard time leaving. 

And as I sat and listened to the lecture, I noticed an intense focus settled in. I felt chills and prayers. I found myself in and out of listening. Going from totally absorbed to some other plane of thinking. I found myself feeling my recent prayers. I can’t help but think this was all related to the fact I was sitting still in a chair (rather than futzing around with my hamstrings) – out of respect for the balcony women behind me.

I left Bible Study on a total wave and headed to my Tuesday night spot for a late dinner. I invited a woman who is managing  an incredible amount of interesting in her life to join me. 

As I listened to her story of the past couple of weeks unfold, questions led to a point when she hit upon a most interesting segment…

When she got a tattoo..

From a guy who she met during a moment of distress who ended being heroic.

The tattoo? Was of a semi colon.

She told me such a tattoo is symbolic of one’s support for those who struggle with addiction, depression and suicide. She got it in honor of an important person in her life.. somebody “who could have ended their sentence but chose not to”…

I can’t help but feel the spirit was charging me during the lecture tonight. I am grateful to God for the connections where my prayers for past and future semi colons may have also been prayers for others like her.. People who are in the throws of loving their family and friends from the sidelines of desperate battlegrounds. Perhaps even as the prayers fruited the application she gave me tonight through her story, they are working towards helping others choose not to end their sentences. 

Maybe this is a long story about nothing. But I want to always remember it. I saw the balcony women as a part of something more sacred than what I was plotting for myself and – out of respect – I didn’t change it. 

Not going per my own accord led me into deep prayer and heart / mind preparation for a conversation that unfolded in such a way that I just can’t understand in this moment. 

However, my favorite learning so far about prophecy is that prophecy is God confiding in people. And it has me totally keen to trying to listen more and more and more. I have hints in my heart of what is being revealed to me in all of this. 

God is awesome and worthy of praise. 

Today: the back seat. Tomorrow: the world.

My coffee has been served and the girls sit next to me, coloring in hot dogs on the children’s menus they offer here at Manhattan Cafe. I like this place. It’s simple, clean, and classic in all the right ways.

We are stopping for lunch as a part between church, home, and laundromat. I’m hoping some food can cure a little edginess. The girls tried to get out of doing laundry (of which there is a lot), I’m anticipating a busy week of work and coming off a crazy one, aaand in a few hours they will go to their dad’s for the week. 

Transition days always have the potential to screw with one of our heads.

On the way over, I glanced at Lucy in the back seat. Sitting just as in the picture. Her style and body language oozed worldly confidence and a spiritual pulse while the booster grounded her in the reality of seven. She is vibrant. She is young.

It’s quite the combination when our energy and vision meet our restrictions and life. How close we come to breaking through largely depends (I believe) on the authenticity with which we come to the barrier and the truth we hold in our hearts. 

My daughter will someday drive. One foot on the pedal, hands at ten and two – but for now she brings her her-ness to her present moment. Which happens to be in the back seat; trusting me to take her to the right place.

As witness to her personality and position today – I can attest this is a responsibility I take on with great prayer and faithfulness, in great love and anticipatory joy.

 xo have a great Sunday, erin


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