Friday, June 19, 2015

Standing Strong in the Holy City

I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining
I believe in love, even when I do not feel it
I believe in God, even when he is silent.
written by a holocaust  prisoner on the wall of Auschwitz

It is 97 degrees in Charleston.

We woke up to a different city today. The city we went to sleep in was not the same we woke up too. Somewhere in between evil walked into the most sacred of places and showed itself. It was, like most evils, insidiously. Slipping in quietly, unnoticed, but leaving everyone in the city changed.
13 parishioners left their home Wednesday, kissed their spouses and kids, grabbed a bite to eat and went to Bible Study to pray and thank the Lord for all He has done. Nine of the 13 met the Lord that very night.
There has been a lot of discussion regarding the brutality of the crime, where it happened. The statement “if you cannot be safe in church, where can you be safe?”
I contend they were safe. If they were there, evil was there, God was there too. He alone knew the outcome. He gathered them up and took them home. What better way to meet God then while in the process of praising Him?
See, when they were saying see you later to their family, God alone knew it was goodbye, temporally until we meet again.
We did not know, but the God of Abraham, Moses and Joshua knew.
I have Tasha and two of her friends over today. It seems listening to their conversation

, It seems as if everything is about death today. Polly Pocket has met her demise many times today. The very interesting thing is, they are not discussing race, this has not occurred to them.
Not taking away from the fact racism is important, but because there is hope.
The thing is, it is not every white person. This was the doing of one person, with hatred in his heart and he represented not anyone else.
A truer show of God’s word and putting it into action are the survivors. Standing in court, where we hear a lot of negative reactions. We hear love and pain. The families as they acknowledge the pain and the change in their lives then let the orchestrator of that change: they have forgiven him.
The city moves forward, helping the survivors survive. They know their city surrounds them, and are as horrified as they are.

Tasha and her friends are playing, They are not noticing the different colors, race, hair of each other. They are friends. The death and playing death is coming to terms with what has happened. Gabby, one of her friends lost her softball coach, and a friend from our local library. Tasha also know the librarian.

I hear them whispering about what has happened. Trying to figure out what they have heard. In the end, the end up making a playdough cake to share.
Everyday these girls learn something new. One of the things so far, they have not learned to hate. Yes learned. That is taught also.
I have to believe these children are our future. I have to believe this because, if they aren't we haven't any future. 
The citizens of Charleston both white and black are headed downtown to a memorial;. they are going to let us know no, let the world know Charleston earned its name of the "Holy City" and we practice it. We learned from a dark history of racial tensions, slavery, and Jim Crow. I can see on Facebook the world is trying to return to normal.

Memorial service, funeral services and mourning are in the near future for Charleston. But there is a morning, it will never be the same but it will be a morning. We will wake up to the new reality, and be proud that we are the Holy City.. We will remember how we came together to honor the dead rather then destroy a community. We will remember as we return to reality and step out of this nightmare: the evil made us stronger.

For today it is 97 degrees in Charleston

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Living in a house of giggles

While driving through town, Tasha noticed a homeless person on the side of the road. 
“I bet she is thirsty, can we give her a drink?”
At the time, we had plenty of drinks and water: however we were across three lanes of packed traffic. I had to say no, not this time
But hopefully next time.
Tasha remarked, “every time I see a homeless person, I always think how thirsty they must be.”
Ok Definitely next time.
Last week or the week before the internet was abuzz regarding a dress. What color is it? What color do you see?
If you are over fifty you see this color, etc. The whole dress thing hit main stream media, and was the topic of conversation in many homes, offices and retails outlets I visited. I was continually amazed at the fact everything from jeopardy to Good morning America had a take on it.
The things we get caught up in.

This week the debate is on a beautiful baby, whose mom wrapped her in the American Flag. People that are aware of the rules of flying the flag, decided this was unforgivable.
The baby, innocent as she is was/ is the product of 5 generations of active duty Americans. Family that had sacrificed and volunteered their lives for their county.
But they didn't lose anyone you said, so it’s different.
Really, say that to any military spouse or family that has been separated, move to weird places on the globe in the service of their country. It costs a lot,
There are 403 homeless people recorded in Charleston, seems a low number but it would triple if the unrecorded numbers were added.
Joint Base Charleston has over 20.000 members of all military branches stationed. Every time I hear a C17 fly overhead, I pray for their safety. We do not know if they are coming or going, but there isn’t anywhere safe any longer. So I pray.
At Bible study that evening, Tasha said thoughtfully, “if food costs $500 dollars, and a person has 20, I think they should give the person the food anyway.”
She felt so strongly about it, she took the matter up with the Lord in prayer, immediately.
Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that simple?
Why are we all right Nanny? Because we live in a house of giggles?
“Yes, we live in a house of giggles, because being sad solves nothing, being negative solves even less. We choose to giggle”
Seriously, I don’t know the difference. I know for years we lived two weeks away from being homeless ourselves.  We drove into Charleston literally running for our lives, not anywhere to live, our car piled high with our belongings and Tasha. She couldn’t see out of any window we had the back seat piled so high around her car seat. And she sang all the way.
I think its okay, maybe even therapeutic for the world to go crazy about the color of a dress sometimes, if we didn’t, how would we hold onto our sanity?
It’s also ok to debate things like what should or should not be wrapped in the American Flag.
(Babies, yes everything else no) At least it shows you care and are thinking of the Flag and Pride.
As long as we don’t forget the other things, like the homeless, things that are important.

Like a homeless person standing on the corner, thirsty. Or a family of proud veterans honoring a new generation wrapped in the flag they fought to protect.
For us, we live in a house of giggles. Mommy gets silly, Nanny stays silly and Tasha doesn't worry too much about whats going to happen.
We wish all of you the same.
The dress is gold, by the way.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Like a Canary in a mineshaft

A few days ago, I jumped up off the sofa with the intention of helping Tasha with her grilled cheese sandwich seconds later I found myself looking up from the carpet, The computer cord which has been there for months, jumped up wrapped itself around my ankle and tripped me. Anyway, thats my story and I am sticking to it. Quite honestly it was very comical sort of event, Tasha shouting, "Nanny are you all right, get up!" The background hub bub, but I turned myself over,in the midst of trying to get up, untangled my feet from the cord, and reassure Tasha I was fine; it was a pretty funny two minutes,
 the only thing damaged was my pride and  Isettled Tasha with her grilled cheese. Later I asked Tasha why she had gotten so upset, her mom and she had both taken the computer cord tumble in the past and she hadn't been upset,
 Yes, Nanny” she replied “but you’re fragile,”
Fragile, this old warhorse that has suffered and claimed victory on so many things, fragile?
No, my little darling, not fragile. Perhaps life worn, but never fragile. I can and will beat those same demons should they decide to come around now. Such innocence warms the heart, and strengthens the soul.

Tasha herself is determined. If she wants something she wants it and is no questions about it.
At three she wanted a blanket from Anna’s linens while browsing she picked up a comforter and carried it with her. Denise and I noticed her clutching the thing, and tried to sway her towards a silly princess or cartoon blanket, when all was said and done, I asked her which comforter she wanted. She looked up at me, afraid to make a choice because we had been bombarding her with so many other: she picked up the initial simple pink flowered blanket and said quietly, “this one”
We had not been listening.

She took a picture down that she had painted herself, took one of my pictures down and rehung hers in my place.
It looks better on the family wall, and never to be left defeated, she placed my picture where she thought it belonged. And it did look better there.
To her mother when we were discussing hanging pictures in her room: “Mommy is going to hang the butterflies over her head,”
Denise “I am?”
Tasha: “oh, I forgot to tell you: I was thinking….”
Its okay Tasha, We are listening.
Why is it, they have to grow up so fast? When did she get determine and confident about what she wants.
So now, she is going to be nine.
I am not sure where the little princess left off and the cool level headed child/adult stepped in. What did we miss?
Denise and Eric often regale people of a childhood that I don’t remember, was I there?
Apparently so, I just wasn’t listening. Sometimes I am glad, if I had seen them jumping off the garage roof I may not have made it through their childhoods.
Many people tried to rain me in when I was younger. I had a smart sarcastic altitude, I could and would put someone in their places so quickly they would wake up three days later and realize I had told them off, I was proud of this talent. Now I wish I had listened more and loved more,
However you cannot go back and change things, so that season is over, and that as they say is that.
Now to pull this whole blog post together, so it makes sense. I see you shaking your head thinking, No way this is way to random of a post.
Just wait a few more minutes,
The miners during the late 19th and early 20th century would take a canary down into the tunnels with them. The canaries totally oblivious to what their roll was, would sing merrily until they were taken up back the end of the day. Birds are dense, their job on this earth is to give us beautiful music, but when the music stops: well let’s say the miner made a beeline to get out of there: it meant they had hit a gas filled area, or bad air. The canary gave his life to spare there’s.
What protects ours?
Life is short and precious. While looking at the world from my carpet I could have elected to stay there, but I knew I wouldn’t. I have been there to many times and had to pick myself up and I would again.
Tasha’s determined has grown into her being a child with opinions and thoughts of a grown up some days (you’re kidding Fragile? Where does an eight year old learn this stuff?) Or for the better part of other days, just being eight. But you know she is going to be okay, by her decision making, Always she will pick herself up. Her canary we hope will be sound teachings, reasoning out things and strong decisions. We hope the ability to sense things and handle them.
I don’t believe my kids had a canary when they were climbing trees, and jumping off roofs, I believe they were caught in the throes of childhood spirit: nothing could hurt them in their joy, God did the rest, and he planted His hand firmly on their little selves and said you are mine, and proceeded to keep them from harm.
I have seen them time and time again fall and land on their feet. Determination.
And me
, I don’t have any regrets. I have somber moments when life was so horrible: then I remember the canary never stopped singing, for me. I am still here.
The tie in? Three generations of family here, successful by holding to determination.
By Why does it always have to be so high?

We all got this.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ghost goblins and things that go bump in the night in Charleston

The sky looks as if it is painted a soft gray, it almost does not look real it is so delicate. The
The Battery

chill in the air is unusual for Charleston, even in the winter the low country usually keeps a mild temperature, although at times cold temperatures and occasional snow flurries assault us, they are not what you see in the north, and Charleston remains the subtropical paradise of the Low country. 

I turned the corner of King Street, which stretches from one end of downtown to the other. If I walk straight down King to the east I find myself in a middle class neighborhood, hardworking people who commute downtown, live in nice brick homes with fenced in yards, lots of greenery and trees. However, to the west is the poor area, people who work hard for little, live in older homes smaller green yards, trees outside the fence. In This area people sit on their front porches or stand around in front of the corner stores talking about the latest gossip, what is happening in the city? They do not worry about what they will do tomorrow, they already know they will get up go to work and return home to the same routine. 

In between these two areas is the historical downtown, the Battery. The Grandstand stands in the park. I can still hear music playing in the bandstand, from a time long ago. I sense, more than see, women in long dresses, hats and parasols. Men in fedoras walking gallantly next to them tipping their hats to passing women. 

In the middle of this park, pointed out to an island, is cannon. The cannon is silent:  standing next to  
it is a soldier, dressed in tattered gray standing ramrod straight.
 He looking out across the Cooper River at Fort Sumter. Solemn, his gun at his side as he stands at attention watching, waiting, for what? I shake my head and look again. He is gone in a flash, and so are the women, they are replaced with college students playing ball and occupants of the old elegant homes, walking their dogs. Charleston returns to the present, if only for a moment. I sit on a bench and enjoy my world. 

A young woman, a tourist sits down beside me on the bench. “My name is Linda,” she speaks eagerly, “do you live in Charleston?”

Charleston breeds an air of friendliness, found in most southern towns, but for some reason more so here, I answer yes, and tell her my name is Diane. 

“People have such stories here.” “Stories of ghosts, the supernatural. I don't suppose you know any?”

I tell her the story of a church steeple that stood so tall, the union army used to aim for it, right in the  

“Where did the voice come from“, she asked “a ghost?”
center of town in the middle of winter. The winter was the coldest one the people had experienced, but the constant shelling of the church kept the people running out of their homes to safety. Children were freezing the army kept shelling. One day the townspeople gathered in the church and prayed for God to protect them, their children were cold, from somewhere a voice told the people to their hearts: not a voice out loud, to paint the steeple black so it would not be seen in the dark night. The next morning the people did, wondering at the experience; the shelling stopped.
it is a soldier, dressed in tattered gray standing ramrod straight.
I shook my head, then I tell her about 41 pirates hung, not too far from here, 41 members of Bonny’s group, all hung on the Battery. The old-timers say it, they walk here, they whisper but we never see them. Like most parts of Charleston, we sense their presence, their contribution to the past of this city. I tell her of pirate ships, earthquakes that took many lives and a war that went on for three long years. We see Charleston as Charleston is and was. The past more often than not: meshing with the present in this city.

What about the voice in the steeple, she ask was it the spirit of a dead soldier?
“No, I replied picking up my purse, “God spoke to the people“. 

“God“, she scoffed “I don’t believe in God” 
To myself I smiled. “You will believe in a ghost but not in the almighty?” 

“Of course not give me a good reason to believe in something you cannot see?”

Linda fumed as she gathered her belongings and huffed away. She had come to Charleston looking for Ghosts
not for God. 
So I wonder, how can you believe in spirits and not the mightiest one of all?

I smiled to myself; I get the reaction a lot. People do not wish to believe in a tangible God, but they chose to believe in ghosts and spirits walking the earth.

The truth is, the spirit that walks Charleston is history. We are called the Holy city for a good reason. I smiled as I continued my walk through my city feeling the warmth of history and He who blessed us. 
The women in their long beautiful dresses bowed their heads. 
You just have to love Charleston

My thanks to Glimpse of Charleston for letting me raid their picture file. They are awesome and so are the owners :)