Oh, Charleston

Oh, Charleston. Beautiful, historic Charleston. A city that restored herself after the unspeakable evils of slavery, after war, after earthquakes, after hurricanes.

Charleston restored herself first for her own citizens and, then remarkably, for the world. She became an international destination for historians, for architecture and culture buffs, for scholars, for gardeners, for foodies, for lovers.

I wrote about Charleston a few years ago, and it remains one of this blog's most popular posts. Charleston has been a retreat for the Mister and me as well as a place our children have loved to visit. 

The home of the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston has even served as a place of healing for our family when Little had eye surgery this past fall. My heart breaks for Charleston.

And my heart breaks for the families and friends of my brothers and sisters who had met in what was probably the safest place they knew, their own church. I urge you to read each of their biographies. They ranged in age from 26 to 87. Each led a beautiful and full life of service to their God, their church, their state, their city, their neighbors, their families.

Each deserves to be remembered with hope, for the hope that was within each of them.

 As I scanned the news this morning, these AP images spoke to me of the hope that we cannot abandon, no matter how frayed humankind appears in this world at this time.

As I wrote in my last post, my heart hurts over several loved ones, yet I hope. I prefer the Spanish verb for hope, which is esperar; its translation eliminates the wishfulness often associated with hope. Rather Espero translates "I hope" to mean "I expect," or "I wait." And so, I hope. I wait expectantly.

Because as broken as I am, as we all are, we can have hope in the One who can mend, who can heal. Will this be accomplished over the whole earth in my lifetime? Probably not. Will it be accomplished? Most assuredly so. In the meantime, act with kindness, show grace, forgive, and hope.
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Consider the lilies

I haven't been a much of a blogger this month, I'm afraid. My intent for this blog was for it to always be positive and welcoming; an easy place for you to pop into for a few minutes once or twice a week. But June hasn't been an easy month. Close friends and family are facing illness, and answers and treatments are slow in coming. Other most loved ones who claim big pieces of my heart and life have become unknowable, strangers even. Meanwhile, the demands of work and the routine tasks of daily living clamor like usual. And while I'm complaining, let me just add, the heat.

Still, I get up each morning and walk, and my friends let me talk. Or not. They slow down when I want to take pictures, and they don't say, you haven't posted anything in weeks. They get it.

Today, I saw some lilies. I've probably passed right by them for two weeks, but today I really saw them, and I took a picture with my phone in the soft morning light of 6:30. And, at least three times at work today, I scrolled to that picture and looked at those yellow flowers, kind of scraggly, but still blooming, pressed hard between the fence and the sidewalk, doing their best to keep the weeds at bay. Day lilies. New day, new bloom.

Consider the lilies. I remembered it, and I looked it up. Luke 12:27-28.
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you?
My physical wardrobe is of no concern; it is my soul that's been laid bare. Even so, by God's grace,
I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)
 And so, like the lilies, I'm doing my best to hold up in the heat.

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