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Author: Merianna Harrelson

I am the Pastor of Garden of Grace United Church of Christ in Columbia, SC and the Director of Consulting at Harrelson.Co. I am always looking for a good cup of coffee and a great book.

Today, it’s the leaves…

Today, it’s the leaves

waving to me,

 

soaking up warmth,

giving in to the rain

storing the droplets for refreshment.

creating food and nutrients

releasing oxygen into the air

inviting us all to breathe.

 

Soon the leaves

will remind us

that the seasons change

and the way we must fall

in order to let other things grow.

 

Today, it’s the colors

Today it’s the colors,

inviting me

to see clearly.

 

The brilliant blue of the sky

against the hunter green of the pines –

The unexpected fuchsia of the crepe myrtle

climbing out of the storm drain –

The glistening silver of morning dew

about to evaporate in the blazing summer sun –

The fiery red of the passing cardinal

flying by soft wisps of white clouds –

 

And a tow-headed toddler

taking it all in.

What if…

I found this on Instagram posted by a teacher friend and immediately felt a wave of relief wash over me. I quickly posted it to my stories and followed @miles_of_pe who shared it. (If you know who created it originally, I’d love to give credit!)

After I posted it, I received so many comments and responses from fellow parents. Parents who have been worried about sending their children anywhere because they aren’t sure that it is safe. Parents who don’t have a teaching background wondering if they are engaging their children enough or whether they are falling behind. Parents who have made the decision to keep their kids home for the fall. Parents who are planning to send their kids to school in the fall and are worried that the stint of e-learning last Spring caused them to fall behind.

What if…it’s enough?

What if…our very concern over the well-being of our children is enough to help them know that they are loved and seen? What if…our sleepless nights and early mornings fitting in work before they get up and after they go to sleep is enough for them to understand that we are doing whatever we can to make sure they have time with us? What if…all those walks and outside time and playing in blow-up pools in the backyard is actually they’re absolutely favorite thing to do even though they have done it every afternoon?

What if, dear parent, you are not just enough…but more than enough?

A New Way

As we were doing our weekly grocery pick up, our four-year-old asked which walk we were going on. I reminded him that we were going to get the groceries and he insisted, “But which walk way are we going?” He was trying to orient himself and determine where he was in relation to our house and to our neighborhood. Over the last four months, the majority of our mornings have started with a walk. We’ve developed loops and turns and he has given each of the walks a name.

Now that he is exploring these same ways that we have walked on his bike, he has developed some favorites. Just yesterday I told him that he could choose the way we went. He was so excited to show us the way for a change. As we go I’ve always pointed out the different roads and the different ways that would take us back to our house. I was so impressed that he led the way on a 2.5-mile loop without ever making a wrong turn.

As we have been in this period of quarantine, our community of faith was finishing a study of Acts. Something about the followers of the Way took on a new meaning for me as we were literally developing a new way of life, learning, and being together.

Acts 9 talks about Saul who was persecuting followers of the Way saying:

so that if he found any men or women belonging to the Way, he could bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

This new Way was so threatening to the establishment that they were bringing in followers to try to stop the movement.

We are developing a new way of life. It is a threat to our capitalistic, individualist society because it means we are valuing time together, time outdoors, and simple acts of kindness like food left on a neighbor’s porch. We are finding paths and ways in our neighborhoods rather than traveling out of our communities.

This is the Way of caring for each other and being community together. Let us walk bravely into this new Way.