Friday, May 2, 2014

Bits & Pieces: Pits and Peaks

I have a thing I've used with students I've worked with called "pits and peaks."

Primarily used during the prayer time, or when I asked them to share about their day, I encouraged them to share at least one "peak" - happy thing, and one "pit" - something they are worried, sad or mad about.

I've thought a lot about this, as different things began swirling through my head this week.

It's pretty easy to get caught up in only thinking about "pits."

Let's face it, at times, life is hard. One only has to look at the weekend events in Quapaw, Okla., Baxter Springs, Kan., and Vilonia and Mayflower, Ark., to see that in action.

Life is hard.

But then, like the sunshine at the start of a new day, the "peaks" began to emerge.

People who reached out to help their neighbors in need. Items lost and returned to owners from miles away. Friends pulling together to support the people they love.

There are peaks in life. Sometimes we have to be willing to look up and past the pits to see what is ahead.

So while I could list a few pits here: the messed up execution here in the state, Sarah Palin's statement equating baptism (something I hold very sacred) to a form of acceptable torture, and the way the Christian community at large has seemed to eaten Dan Haseltine (lead singer for Jars of Clay) alive after he posted a series of questions struggling with faith on Twitter - I'm choosing to focus on some peaks.

But on a side note, I hurt with Hasletine and the backlash he is experiencing. I think, from reading his accounts, his questions were meant to simply struggle through the issues - especially after watching 12 Years A Slave and participating in a roundtable discussion in Australia.

While Twitter probably wasn't the best place to struggle with the moral questions plaguing the church, I'm glad that he's at least struggling and asking questions and looking for the grey in a not-so black and white world.

So here they are in no particular order.

1) The Superhero 5K

I forgot to mention last week that I not only took part in the anti-bullying 5K sponsored by the Wyandotte Nation, but I finished - in less than 60 minutes thank you very much.

My "walk/run" time was extended a bit, thanks in part to the train that decided to stall part of the participants mid-race.

Thanks to Vanessa and Missy for encouraging me at the start, and thanks to Cheryl and Jeanie for catching up with me, and then staying with me through the bitter end of the course.

The pair were an inspiration - they are in training to walk a marathon together in November. Cheryl said she can walk one in six and a half hours. No, I'm not there yet, but maybe. Someday.

2) A new cat

A friend and I have "adopted" a cat together. My friend will have "primary" custody, while I'll have visitation rights to Alibi or Ali for short.

Who knows, apparently since I can keep a plant alive, I've graduated to joint ownership of a calico kitten.

It's funny, the girl who never had an indoor cat is writing this column while Alibi is asleep in a newspaper paper box, at her feet.

It's amazing how your stress level decreases when you hold a little bundle of fluff in your arms. I promise not to become one of those "crazy cat owners" and to keep the photos at a minimum on Instagram.

3) Relief

I'm grateful that some ministry colleagues in Arkansas rode through Sunday's tornado without bodily injury. I'm also grateful for friends who have responded to the situation in Vilonia, Ark., to help as needed.

My prayer continue to be with friends at Vilonia United Methodist Church. Buildings and stuff can be replaced. The congregation will rebuild - and my guess be stronger than ever.

Here's a couple peaks I'm looking forward to this weekend: the third annual GRDA Lake Launch on Friday night and Saturday's Burning of the Socks. Both were fun "first events" for me to cover last year, and I'm looking forward to seeing them again as a slightly "seasoned" Grand Laker.

So that's the bits and pieces of this week - a look at my pits and peaks. Have a great week and be safe!

Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the May 2, 2014 issue of The Grove Sun.

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