“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” E.B. White
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.
My daughter, Betsy, is the master of hashtags. Her Facebook posts keep me laughing with descriptive blurbs that give an unfiltered summary of whatever situation she has recently encountered. In her daily grind with a two-year-old and a one-year-old, her sense of humor is often her salvation. She is adept at finding the wonder in the midst of the mundane and often harrowing moments. One of many ironies in this world is that even when life is good, it can still be so very hard all at the same time. So maybe we need to note: #goodcanstillbehard #smileanyway
#Broken has been our legacy ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. I think the separation between Creator and creature that occurred in that pivotal instant is the reason why all of humanity is on a perpetual quest for purpose and meaning. The French philosopher Blaise Pascal said it well in 1670. “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator made known through Jesus.” But oh how hard we pursue everything except Jesus! And then God, the author of surprise, is known to take us somewhere we might never have chosen to go to find the greatest joy. Even then, it could be hard.
Brokenness permeates every level of society. Stacy Underwood, the adorable blue-eyed girl on our cover, came face to face with #broken when several years ago, she read the best seller, Same Kind of Different as Me. She was suddenly aware of her own broken places and the broken places in the lives of those who couldn’t hide their brokenness as skillfully as she could. She couldn’t just put that book on the shelf and go about her safe, but hectic, young mother life. God called her to get out of her comfort zone and give herself to others whom she soon realized were a whole lot more like her than different from her. It has been eight years since HeARTworks got its start, and Stacy still goes down to Stewpot on Tuesdays, at times with more enthusiasm than at other times. And it is always amazing because God fills her up in the most unexpected ways.
October is Special Needs month, and I can’t wait for you to read about the T.K. Martin Center on the Mississippi State Campus. It is impossible in one article to do justice to the enormous range of services provided for those whom #broken involves a physical or mental challenge. The Martin Center is staffed by amazing miracle workers who are warm, wonderful, caring, and committed. It may not have the word “JESUS” over the door, but you can surely tell He is all over the place.
Breast Cancer Awareness is also an October event. I am celebrating my ninth year as a survivor, but when I think of the summer of 2006, the feelings are as fresh as though it all happened yesterday. You can read about the strides. You can know the odds are good that you will survive, but the “C” word is still terrifying when you are on the receiving end of such news. Baptist Health Systems has provided some very practical information for a Breast Cancer patient and it is not the kind of advice that usually finds its way into the mountain of information that usually comes home in the one-size-fits-all packet that is provided to every patient. It is spot on. Take it from one who has been there.
You know one of the most politically correct subjects in this Orwellian era is saving the environment. We know about conservation, but can I just insert my thoughts? God is the original and quintessential conservationist. Years ago on a Wednesday night at Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson, John Oswalt who was a professor at Wesley Biblical Seminary at the time, said, “God never wastes anything in your life.” At the time, I was pretty desperate because my entire life was in chaos.
But here with the advantage of years, experience, and time, I can see how very true that is. There is nothing wasted in our brokenness—especially if that brokenness drives us to the foot of the cross and into the arms of Jesus.