Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Button Man

“Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.” Kahlil Gibran

A man told me a story yesterday that is now part of my story. It is one of those moments that puts down roots and refuses to budge- as if you would ever want to forget it. It is a story-of-stories and it is as great as it is humble.

The storyteller is my husband who has recently become the chaplain at a rescue mission that serves the homeless. Homeless is an inadequate description of people who are not just lacking a home but all the other necessities. Hope is also often in short supply.

He told me a story and then placed something precious in my palm. Precious like homeless is also too small a word.

The chapel service ended and a well spoken man approached John and asked for a moment. He had no home and all he owned he wore or carried with him. He had been watching and listening to John interact with someone in the service.

The man wanted to give John a gift and John assured the man that no gift was necessary. The man persisted. He looked into John's face and told him he had seen the way John behaved towards someone as well as that individual's response. Then he reached down and pulled a silver button from his jacket and placed it in John's hand as a gift of appreciation and encouragement.

He had found a lovely button in his poverty and had sewn it into the inside of his coat just over his heart. It was his only treasure. The one thing that made him feel as if he had "something." He had nothing of real value to give as the world assigns value, nothing the world considered precious, but he did not let that stop him from giving. He trusted John to comprehend the weight of the gesture.

One      single      button.

I looked at that tiny offering now growing warm in my hand and I heard a faint beating sound that grew more distinct as I held its silver goodness. I heard the beating heart of a God who treasures such sacrifice. A God who understands that something even less than a widow's mite can be irreplaceable treasure.

It is an irrefutable fact that John will give you his saxophone before he will part with the button. It sits in a place of honor and in his line of sight in his office. It has fastened John to the work and has bestowed a generosity one has to go to Calvary to fully appreciate.

We are humbled and blessed by the button man's contribution to our Christmas and to our lives. His gift and friendship enriched us. He taught us to be aware of people's eyes upon us. May we unfailingly look to others like the One who loves them best.

You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. You know that Christ was rich, but for you he became poor so that by his becoming poor you might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9

(The button above is from an ad on Etsy as I did not have a picture of John's which is similar but has a lily on it.)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pirates In The Orchard

Milkweed drifts
on honeyed breezes.
Silken nets
with the wind.
Glistening webs
between cherry branches.
Eggless nests
to her limbs.
She is home
to spiders
and climbing boys.
Boys who tasted
her sour and sweet
and dreamed her
a pirate ship
in blue waters-
far from orchard
or bathtub.
High summer games
will soon
go the way
of picked cherries.
There are oceans
to navigate
and treasure
to plunder
before her leaves

to crisp
school book pages.
Eager branches
lift and
the sweaty men
of tomorrow
who will remain
pirates with
a taste
for cherries
past this boyhood
The sun
burns away
cool autumn's 
momentary threat
leaving boys
and spiders
to sail and spin
in peace.

From Pirates In The Orchard
-Kat Cavanaugh LaMantia

The New Year approaches. I have several friends and family who have seen 80+ New Years come and go. Who have seen the world "spin" one way and then reverse itself and spin another way.

All of them enjoy one thing in common, a fresh faced, young soul that lives inside of them in spite of those years. A hopeful, optimistic child heart that remembers trees long past but yet looks forward to cherry trees unclimbed and inviting, "Come up!"

You all inspire me. 
He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
He renews your youth—you’re always young in His presence.

God makes everything come out right..Psalm 103 (The Message)
Photo by Dennis Adams

Saturday, December 15, 2012

As Good As Eggs

You lay blue plates upon the table

Chipped, they are still good for us

and for friends who are never company

Eggs like steaming, golden clouds

fill the room with goodness

Such joy and nourishment from broken things

Our eyes meet over Grace and know

we are as good as eggs.

Breakfast from Since You Asked Me to Dance
by Kat Cavanaugh LaMantia 2012

...You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you... Joel 2:25-26