A story to remind us what happens when we believe in a love that wins.
Once upon a time in a lovely southern town something terrible happened. It was the kind of terrible that people don't even talk about, for even thinking it would make you shudder. But it happened. And it was terrible.
The whole lovely town stopped breathing. Everyone moved in the slow motion of disbelief. People cried and prayed and questioned. It was terrible.
Then, something wonderful happened. The whole lovely town held hands. They sang together, prayed together, came together like never before. The town became a picture of what happens when fear gives way to faith. When hurt gives way to healing. Where tragedy gives way to triumph.
People forgave. People gathered. People loved.
The whole world watched that lovely town learn to find their feet of strength again and they were amazed at how strong they stood. You see, sadly, this town and the world it was in was not a stranger to struggle. It had fallen to terrible things before and there was a long history of simply getting it wrong. But this time, this time, the lovely town got it right because they led with love, not law. They led with honor, not hate. They led with their hearts outstretched in their hands, not held tightly in their fists.
The lovely town will forever remember the terrible thing and will always have it to tell. However, the lovely town will also remember that this terrible thing gave way to a wonderful thing: a love that knows no boundaries. A love that keeps on loving. A love that locks arms, gives free hugs, and stands strong. A love that is rooted deeply in the Giver of ultimate love who endlessly works all things for good.
A love that wins. Every time.
The Lord speaks to me in thoughts that turn into allegories. Today is no different. Today it's my garden - and He speaks - and I listen - and I hear him speaking about people and messy life and the way of it all....
Here's what I'm learning - feel free to make all the connections as you go:
It’s 147 steps to the water. Water where I can breathe. Water where I can think. 147 steps.
Sometimes I walk there. Sometimes I can hardly crawl. Sometimes I bust out my front door, leaving shoes or jackets or anything rational on the porch, and run frantic like my clothes are on fire to the very end. On the way, words, thoughts, conversations desperate for expression turn to water, and I realize, it’s probably the only way they will ever be spoken.
I breathe in the brackish air and it helps me reset. Like a jolt to the system, full lungs after gasping. I am met by birds and fish and little crabs that scurry back to their secret places. Curious dolphins stop by. Blue herons skim the reeds. All of us are searching. We are all looking for what sustains us, what will keep us alive.
I’m allowed to rest here. I don’t have to be on, I don’t have to behave nicely, I don’t have to wear the right clothes or makeup or do my hair. The people who own this precious path to the river, they don’t care. They just want me to come - it’s a gift they’ve given me - anonymity, privacy, peace. They know I’m bone tired. That regardless that I try so hard, I can never quite get it all done, be as brave or tolerant as I should, or that I will ever measure up to what people expect me to be. They see me wearing thin. They worry, but they let me breathe. They know that prayer and solitude is healing and they offer both. They also are fully aware that Jesus and salt water heal all wounds. They just let me come - and I love them for it.
I love the path to the river, the river that beckons me again today... 147 steps away
Tara is Greg's girl, mom to two sons of thunder, a hunger fighter, big dreamer and worship pastor at seacoast church.