Seven years ago today my family gathered around Maggie Lee’s bedside and John commended her spirit to The Lord. Test results concluded beyond a doubt that she was already gone. The beautiful, creative brain which produced hilarity and song lyrics showed no activity. We said our initial farewells, signed organ-donor consents and updated thousands of faithful petitioners that we had not received our miracle.
I remember so vividly our seventh anniversary in Dallas in 2001. The card John gave me as we ate dinner in some Irish restaurant on Knox Street had the words, “The only thing I’m itching for is more of you.” I know, I got a keeper. At that point seven years seemed a lifetime.
Reflecting on those building years brings an ooze of blissful gratitutude; not only because we were all together but because those training-wheel trials of parental cancer readied our marriage and souls for the biggie which was to come. Silly me, I thought those were the biggies. Without such warm-up, though, I could have easily now be living out of a shopping cart with five dogs. Rather than four.
Earthly life as the book of James reminds us is a vapor. A mist quickly fading. A pan flash of 12 or 82 years. All comparatively nano-seconds to an eternal God. But even if it’s just a vapor, I long to have my vapor matter. If we are mere vapes then may we vape well. I only want the power of God’s grace to make its way through me. I long for the everlasting to abide and energize me because time is indeed so short.
The thought hit me as I taxied Jack and three of his squad home from Six Flags last week. The weather was stormy and there was lots of mist to drive through. Maybe it was the amalgamation of rain, perspiration and netflix in that cab but I swear it was a holy insight. I know life is short and I want my time to matter. I have found the bird’s eye view of connecting those in need to those who have a little extra to give intoxicating. Like setting up two friends who desperately need one another.
To that end Khaki Fair will happen tomorrow. Maggie Lee’s Closet along with a slew of community partners will provide uniforms, education and books to some of NW Louisiana’s most vulnerable little people. Hair dressers and barbers on hand to spiff them up for their first day of school.
Step Forward, a group which is combating root causes of our cities’ poverty has brought to our attention the 30 million word gap issue. Essentially kids who succeed in our schools have been exposed to 30 million more words by age three than those who will fail.
Get this: the brain actually feeds on words as our kids bodies feed on food it turns out. The interaction between parent / guardian and child sets up kids for success or failure. Now that we’re aware of this, we can bring this information to parents seeking uniforms to equip them to change their lives while meeting the emergent need of clothing for those in crisis.
Maggie Lee’s brain and soul I shall never be able to duplicate or describe but I am inspired by her memorable spirit to nurture these beautiful kids in some small way. And in uniform form help them to know that immense, amazing love I have by God’s grace discovered. Which does not by the way make me a good detective. It’s everywhere.