Bubbles in the schoolyard, hope in my soul

Faith in Action from Madison to Texas
September 4, 2017
Children and the Image-Obsessed World
September 6, 2017

Bubbles in the schoolyard, hope in my soul

Photo from Madison365

I was listening to Jon Bellion’s “The Wonder Years” the other day and the bridge hit:
They say my dream is unreal
I’m forgetting how the sun feels
I’m forgetting how love heals
And my niece is blowing bubbles in the yard

I went to the Mendota Elementary School block party August 26th, and this was the sentiment that came flooding back to me. It was like lots of people “blowing bubbles in the yard.”

Kids dancing, people singing, bounce houses, local organizations. Let’s not forget the oh-so-delicious food from Jamaican, American, Black, and Latino backgrounds. Chik-fil-A made a special appearance, too.

This is a part of my dream. I, as a believer, long for the day where people take time and energy to love each other and work for each other in such a loving way – across geographic, racial, ethnic, and gender lines We have a clear and present opportunity to try and make this happen. We can model it.

Talking with Jon Anderson and Henry Sanders (co-founders of SA), I saw what happens when the faith community puts forward effort to bring community together with discernment.

I saw police officers and firefighters laughing and joking with neighbors. The food programs in the community, like FEED and REAP, were working to get the word out on opportunities.

People from all over the community brought kids to celebrate and play in bounce houses.

Young girls dancing traditional dances, sharing culture with the community.

A young man leading his audience with songs from New Edition and Beyonce.

People from different faiths, family structures, economic classes, enjoyed music and food and books and played together.

All of this with an ever-present threat of rain.

I’ve been really struggling the past few weeks and have been unable to articulate it well to anyone. I have been swamped with thoughts about Charlottesville and necessary personal responses to both systemic and present domestic crises and scandals.

I have been plagued by what I know about the international slave trade that’s still ongoing through my connection as a partner with International Justice Mission, the crisis in Venezuela, Sierra Leone, and more.

I still have to figure out my love life and the future of my career. There are more things still that I have yet to learn about my own faith and history. Lastly, I’m trying to be healthy, be a good sibling and son, and be open to my friendships. I’m tired of thinking of struggles and bills and news and other stuff.

Even with all of that…I’m still doing really well. My collective nieces and nephews are proverbially blowing bubbles in the yard. Sometimes I have to remember that and get out of my own head.

I don’t live on the North Side, but as I walked down the hallway of the school with blue lockers on either side and the paw prints on the ground, I could breathe. I could see the school garden, hear the bass of the speakers mixed with the laughter of children and their parents. I could feel coolness of air.

As I learn how to continue to feel and empathize yet stay steadfast and firm in the faith, planted firmly in the rock.

I have a lot to learn about resting in God. I have a lot to learn about sometimes just being able to breathe in Him and not have to fix everything and have all of the answers.

I’m learning how much I don’t have to learn everything.

The block parties help show me that, show us that, we have a lot to learn about community.

John 17:20-23 – “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

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