kindom musings

Thoughts and musings from a pastor in the peace tradition. Perspectives come from a progressive, justice-minded, feminist position. Responses are welcome.

Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States

I am a Church of the Brethren pastor in my thirties. While I love what I do, I started out with plans to be a veterinarian. God has a great sense of humor, and I wound up in ministry instead. However, my sojourn into veterinary science did make me a vegetarian with a love of animals. (We have two cats and a dog at home -- only a small petting zoo!) My husband is also ordained, and we have a son (LB) and a daughter (KB). My husband keeps me up to date on baseball trivia, and my children keep me giggling. All in all, it makes for a well-rounded life. I was born in Pennsylvania, moved several times for school and work, and have recently returned to my home state. On the Myers-Briggs scale, I'm an INFP.

Monday, March 12, 2007

In Detroit of all places...

Okay, so my plans to post regularly have obviously not happened. When I've had things to write about (all brilliant and insightful, I'm sure), I've been too tired keeping up with kids and job to take the time to post anything. When I've had time to post, absolutely nothing has come to mind. So I've had a three month dormancy, and I'd feel guilty about that, except I started this blog as something that would be healthy and life-giving. Criticizing myself for a dormancy seems counter-productive. Besides, I'm in a mood to write again.

I just spent an incredible weekend with some very meaningful women in my life. I won't even try to capture how special they each are to me with mere words, but suffice it to say that although I don't see most of them more than once a year, I can share some of my greatest senses of triumph and tragedy with them and fully trust that they will be held with sacred compassion. What a blessing!

What surprised me on this trip was how meaningful a trek from one concourse to another at the Detroit airport became to me. Detroit was a layover airport both coming and going. I've flown into Detroit before and had noticed the lights and music that separate Concourse A from B and C. I guess that's the current trend in airports. O'Hare has its neon lights; Denver has its musical ride between terminals; there are probably lots of other airports doing similar things. But Detroit has a whole concert with changing music and sounds and changing light scenes all along this corridor. The walls have a rippled texture and these panels of light covering the whole rainbow spectrum pulse from one end to the other. When I entered it this afternoon, trying to get from one end to the other with at least a few minutes to spare before boarding my next flight, the whole area was a deep blue. It was silent and mostly dark. All of a sudden lights flashed at the other end and I heard what sounded like a gentle rainstorm. The lights changed from midnight blue to a teal color, and I realized I could see people faces more clearly. A bright light flashed again, and I could see (or imagine) the same moment of awe and recognition of beauty on their faces that I felt inside myself. It was as if these strangers, all in hurry to go one direction or another, were sharing in this experience, and for a few minutes, we were invited to experience something together that had nothing to do with air travel. Nonetheless, I felt transported into a different frame of mind. Although I was in a hurry, I felt a sense of peace, no doubt the hope of those who designed the corridor. Yes, it is artificial, but I am thankful for gift of the sights and sounds.

I know I wasn't the only one to take notice of it. A small group of people sat on the floor, out of the way of foot traffic and moving sidewalks. I thought at first that they were waiting for othes in their party, and maybe they were, but perhaps they were just pausing to watch the show. In addition to the created lights and sounds, I saw other people taking pictures with cameras or cell phones. I too wanted to capture the moment, but I didn't have a camera with me. Instead I have to settle for a memory and these all too inadequate words.

Maybe the sights and sounds were so meaningful because they remind me that life is full of unexpected beauty and grace. For all the drudgery of days, the discouraging awareness of troubles in the world, the often too-fast pace of life, God continues to offer opportunities to see minor miracles of goodness. It is in the faces of strangers who pull over in their travels to share in the sight of a beautiful rainbow together or in stories of those who offer random acts of kindness. It is in baby smiles and the wizened hands of the elderly. There are so many sights and sounds that daily reaffirm that God's creation is good, and that we too, as part of that created, are included in that goodness and blessing. Who would have thought an airport could produce such warm feelings?


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