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The Blessing.

There are few times when I travel backward in my mind and find nuggets of perfect synchronicity in a fraction of a second. Saturday was one of those times, so allow me to walk you through the steps. Bear with the chain link of events below as I bare my soul.

STEP 1: THE PLAN

It all began with an idea to have a fun-filled, let-your-hair-down kinda day for my performing arts troupe, which consists of experienced professionals in various industries. They’re amazing superheroes in their respective fields and on any stage of creativity. A beautiful dichotomy of talent if you ask me. This delicate balance needed a breeze of fellowship, so August 13th was set for Summer Fun Day at Avondale Park. I could hardly wait.

STEP 2: THE CONSIDERATION

One of our members attends graduate school out-of-state and was making the trek to spend time with the team, so I watched the weather closely to ensure that she could travel to us safely. I didn’t see some responses from my crew (which I later discovered was due to a technical glitch), so I considered canceling it altogether. After all, we had received bursts of thunderstorms every day that week and Saturday was going to follow suit. I decided to keep the plan based upon the forecast, and added some extra prayer to the meteorologist’s news. So glad I did. The weather was perfect.

IMAG3155STEP 3: THE IDEA

On the previous evening, we held rehearsal and one of our members brought up the notion of eating at Saw’s Soul Kitchen in Avondale, Alabama. I had never been, so I immediately was intrigued and ready to go. The dance of overcasting clouds and sunshine made for a mean game of volleyball and Uno. We were having fun, exactly what I prayed for. It seemed only fitting that we carry the good vibrations over to the restaurant.

STEP 4: THE GOODNESSIMAG3164

The food was delicious and so was the laughter. We sang along to the old school soul music showering over our cozy little table of five. We were enjoying each other’s company, exactly what I prayed for. Then, enter a smiling stranger who politely asked us if we were about to leave and if he and his family could have our table. If you’ve been to Saw’s in Avondale, you know the severity of this request. There are less than 10 tables in this eatery and the line to obtain one when they open at 11 starts at 10:40 AM at best. I’m ashamed to admit that I shook my head “no.” Thank God for my friend, who apparently was closer to Jesus than I was in that moment, that said yes and my stone-faced look morphed into a smile and a nod. IMAG3169He was kind and respectful, and I was proudly selfish. I’m usually the person that is cognizant of busy hours and needed seats, but on that day, I didn’t want to be considerate. I was marinating in the loveliness of time that our team rarely experiences without the demands of a deadline. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want it to end…
but it was time.

IMAG3173STEP 5: THE SUGGESTION

After releasing our table, the same friend that suggested Saw’s pointed our attention to a thrift store nearby that she loves to visit. Sozo Trading Company was the destined place. Being the economical giants that we are, we jumped at the chance to embark on another adventure. Like giddy children filled with wonder, we walked inside and immediately felt peace. Dakota greeted us with a smile and noticed our matching shirts. She inquired of our talents and we agreed to perform a human video before we left.

STEP 6: THE CRUX
Remember when I gave you the demographics of the team in THE PLAN? The challenge that comes with our creative make-up is that schedule clashes are inevitable and not everyone learns the same piece at the time it is taught. In this instance, there was also the factor that one of our members had not performed with us in over a year. So, the suggestions started flowing. “What about this?” “Were you here when we did that song?” “I don’t know that one, but I can learn it.” The communication about the business at hand resulted in my spirit being nudged to return to the first song I heard in my soul stereo – How He Loves Us by Jesus Culture featuring Kim Walker-Smith. It fitted the mission of Sozo perfectly, so I shared those thoughts with my team. So, in true Workmanship Incorporated anointing, we quickly forged as a unit and half of our quad learned the piece in the back of the store. The funny part is that no one batted an eye of curiosity or annoyance. They just shopped around us as if our full-bodied belonged in the setting. In less than 45 minutes, we were all caught up and ready to serve.

STEP 7: THE BLESSING 

WINC at Sozo
Thank you, Dakota.

We ministered. Right there inside of the front entrance doors.
If you’ve never performed a human video, it requires all of your muscles to cooperate and be in sync with those around you in order to present the storyline clearly. Two of us were negotiating with our bodies about previous injuries, two of us had learned the piece in minutes, and all of us were in sync. It was beautifully amazing. As usual, we performed for an audience of ONE – the ONE who gives us Life and the ONE who needs it. Dakota recorded and took pictures. When the song was over and we expired all we had, Dakota was teary and patrons were nearby. A man approached us with watery gratefulness in his eyes and hugged us, thanking us for the message of Love. His courage to be touched is what sincerely touched me. An open masculine heart is said to be soft, weak, or feminine by society’s standards unless they’re crying about winning a championship, but at that moment… he felt loved and reminded, and that was all that mattered. Then, it dawned on me. He was my blessing. Dakota was my blessing. Austin and Amanda (fellow Sozo staff) were my blessing. The gentleman at the restaurant was my blessing. Steps 1 through 7 were the blessing that led to the makarios moment… this man hugging people he didn’t know because of a Message that we said silently. We were presented with the opportunity to eulogeó (to speak well of, praise, or bless) God in the presence of His people and it resulted as a makarios experience for ourselves and others (refers to the believer in Christ who is satisfied and secure in the midst of life’s hardships because of the indwelling fullness of the Spirit).

What did I learn that day?

That your plans are never yours. They always affect someone else, even when you don’t know it. And you’ll be better off letting God lead the choices you make because He always has a two-edged blessing waiting for you. Blessings are always simultaneously designed. They are never unilateral.

To learn more about Greek words related to “blessing/blessed,” click here and here. I hope you enjoy the insight as much as I did.

Peace & Thanks for Listening. (I know it was a long one this time, so really… thank you.)

 

Open, Mopin’, Chopin

Hong-Yi-food-art-6-1kos0lg
Photo Credit: 31 Days of Food Creativity by Hong Yi

In response to The Daily Post’s One Word Prompt: Open

When we leave food uncovered, it becomes susceptible to anything surrounding it.

Gnats. Fruit flies. Ants. Bacteria. Grubby little hands. Grown man fingers. Just to name a few.

I’ve noticed that when hearts and minds are open, we experience the same challenges. Good things can come out of us when the walls of our hearts are open enough to let them out. Sometimes a crack is all it takes for a beam of light to shine on a dark situation. Also, the mind can be exposed to great intellectual seeds just waiting to burrow into our soul’s innermost concerns and germinate into solutions for our problems. When our being is open, fruitful results flow out of us and attract others. Like a beautiful cuisine on display, it is pretty to behold and smells deliciously divine, so it draws in the likes of those who wish to partake in its expected excellence.

On the other hand, this can pose an issue when it comes to matters of the heart and the fragility of the mind. Whenever the opportunity arises to expose greatness, there is also opportunity for disgrace and contamination.

We shine in hopes of receiving confirmation that we are authentically exceptional in our strengths and talents.

We spill our gifts and let them run freely to open hands in the audience; however, it comes with a price. The ants come to feast. The hands seek to devour and the bacteria is just along for the ride. Suddenly, the greatness becomes emptiness. The shine is dulled. The once beautiful cuisine appears in the imagination as the eyes see the crumbs. Being open sucks sometimes, and there’s not much we can do to prevent this ravishing to be brave in our openness.

Polish-French Pianist Chopin (Szopen in Polish) had his share of this phenomenon. In addition to his musical brilliance, his performance style wasn’t well received at larger concert spaces in the earlier stages of his career; nevertheless, he continued to pour his passion into his composition and flourished as a well-known as an artist. One fact most do not know about Chopin is that his body is buried in France (his creative home), but his heart was interred in Poland (his birthplace).  Interesting.

There’s something to be said about the emphasis we place upon our giving. We can’t afford to mope around, focusing on the empty vessel we could become over time. Somehow the more we give, the more we obtain to give. The mere fact that we’re a vessel at all should be a graceful honor.

The world depends on our open door to greatness, but there’s nothing wrong with a gate to maintain its luster.

We have the opportunity each day to affect the lives of others in a positive magnitude that could send shockwaves into their future. Could you be abused and misused? Possibly… but those boundaries are up to you to uphold. Do what it takes to continue the flow.

No more moping. No more loathing.

Be open. Live open. Live free.

Peace & Thanks for listening.

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