Thursday, November 27, 2014

He is Still Weeping

Jesus wept. (John 11:35)

Jesus wept for his friend, Lazarus who had died.  Jesus wept for his friends, Mary and Martha who had lost their brother.

Even though he knew that in just a few minutes, they would have him back.  Raised from the dead.  Even so, his heart ached with…

Compassion and Empathy.

I think that on this Thanksgiving holiday in the United States of America, Jesus is still weeping.

He weeps for a mother in Missouri.

He weeps for a family in Cleveland.

He weeps for shop owners with looted dreams.

He weeps for broken hearts that assume the worst.

He weeps for hardened hearts that cannot feel the pain of their fellow man.

He weeps for those…white or black… who cannot see the person behind the skin color;… white or black.

He weeps for a people who cannot get along.

He weeps for ears that refuse to hear.

He weeps for hands that refuse to help.

He weeps for hearts that refuse to hurt.

He weeps for victims.

He weeps for perpetrators.

All around us…he weeps for the widow, the orphan, the homeless, the disenfranchised, and the helpless.

And, he weeps for those of us who just don’t care.

It doesn’t matter if you are white or black.  It doesn’t matter if you are Republican or Democrat.  It doesn’t matter if you think Darren Wilson is a killer or a hero.  It doesn’t matter if you think Michael Brown was a thug who caused his own death or simply a rowdy teen who was needlessly murdered.

Jesus is weeping for you.

So, let’s try something.  Let’s try putting down our bricks and our batons.  Let’s give our indignation a rest.  Let’s set aside our racial preferences.  Let’s flush our hatred and angry words.  Let’s forget political affiliations, rhetoric, and talking points.

Let’s stop and look….really look…into one another’s human eyes.  And, let’s see if we can find it in there…shimmering in our humanity.  That little spark of what Jesus felt.

That little spark that IS compassion and empathy.

And, let’s weep with him.  Let’s weep for who we are, and let’s pray for the hope of who we can become.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Muncie Boyhood-Life at Roosevelt Elementary

Miss Hoffman-Fourth Grade

Mrs. Dennis-Fifth Grade
Crazy Things I Remember from Roosevelt Elementary School

No particular order…

  1.  Making “Macaroni” Art—My mom had it hanging in her dining room until I was an adult.
  2. Taking naps in Kindergarten on a rug that was purchased just for that very purpose.
  3. For some reason I associate Johnny Cash’s song “I Walk the Line” with my second grade class.
  4. I broke my right collarbone a few days before school started in third grade, and had to learn to write left-handed for the first two months.
  5. Lee Burton, a special needs kid in our third grade class sharpened his finger in the pencil sharpener.
  6. I got into a wrestling match with a neighbor boy on the way home from school.  It was just across from the school.  We were so into the match that we didn’t realize that a crowd had gathered to “watch the fight.”  When I realized what was happening, I was afraid a teacher was going to come get us, so I pushed him down and took off toward home.  He caught up with me about two blocks later, and all of the sudden the friendly wrestling match was less friendly.  So, I pushed him down again and went home.
  7. I got a “whack” for fighting in the boy’s restroom…but, I wasn’t.  An early lesson that life isn’t fair.
  8. I remember planting seeds on pads of cotton in Mrs. Dennis’ class.
  9. Once I tripped at the top of the back stairs.  The ones that went down from in front of the 5th/6th grade wing toward the gym.  I tripped at the top, did a mid-air somersault, and landed on my butt on the bottom step.
  10. Mr. Burkholder-Sixth Grade
    I remember wanting to be on the Safety Patrol.  I only got to be a sub, and occasionally was the crossing flag holder at Madison Street.  But, I wanted one of those badges!
  11. I remember singing: “School’s out, school’s out.  Teachers let the monkeys out” on the last day of school…every single year!
  12. I remember getting love notes from Holly Bell in second grade.  On the outside, I hated it…but, on the inside, I loved it!
  13. I remember a Christmas ornament that my third grade teacher, Mrs. Denny gave me.  It stayed in my family’s ornament collection until my mother’s decorations were dispersed after her death just a few years ago.  It was lost then, and it really bugs me now.
  14. I remember the big windows that we’d open in the early fall and late spring, and the big boiler radiators that would keep us warm in the winter.
  15. I noticed girls in fifth grade.  In particular, I developed a huge crush on my best friend’s sister, Tena.  That lasted until high school, but was my deepest held secret.
  16. Mrs. Cox-Music
    I got glasses in fourth grade, and all of the sudden Miss Hoffman’s instructions on the board made a lot more sense.
  17. I remember the kids calling the principal “Coble Wobble.”  It wasn’t nice, but everyone did it…especially around Thanksgiving.
  18. I remember kids smoking cigarettes as early as fourth or fifth grade.
  19. I remember making paper mache’ pinatas in sixth grade.
  20. I remember reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every morning.
  21. I remember collecting dimes for the March of Dimes.
  22. I remember tornado drills and fire drills, but I also seem to have a faint memory of bomb drills.
  23. I remember playing with a parachute in gym class.
  24. I remember playing basketball during recess on the playground.  I was terrible at it.
  25. I remember learning to square dance and some other dances.  I don’t remember why.  And, I no longer remember how to do them.  I wasn’t much good at that either.
  26. I remember singing Christmas songs in school.  Silent Night, Holy Night.
  27. I remember walking to Wilson Middle School for a tour of my sixth grade year.
  28. I remember a little girl in our fourth grade class lost her parents to a traffic accident.  She moved away and I never saw her again.
  29. I remember the front lawn was like a park with the huge old trees.
  30. Mrs. Siler-First Grade
    I remember hearing the older kids talk about the riots at Southside High…and being afraid because I knew I’d be going t
    here someday.
  31. I remember getting a physical in the library.  “Turn toward the window and cough.”
  32. In sixth grade, for about two weeks, we had daily giant rumbles out in the field during recess.  Nearly all of the kids were involved.  It was like a huge wrestling match.  Bodies flying.  Kids flipping.  Pushing.  Shoving.  Swinging.  For the most part, it was all good fun, but the teachers had to put a stop to it.  Too many torn clothes and minor injuries.
  33. Playing “Duck, Duck, Goose.”  Loved that game.  (I wonder if I could get a game up?)
  34. And, the last random memory I’ll share is that I remember making a finger-paint picture in Miss Hoffman’s fourth grade class that got entered into some city-wide contest.

Mr. Bushey-Principal
In general, I have fond memories of my days at Roosevelt Elementary School, and it is kind of cool that I am still in contact with some of the kids…and even some of the teachers from my days there.  It is a shame that the old building is gone.  It would be fun to go back and get a new look at it.  To walk in the front doors and go up the first steps to the main level.  To trudge on up to the second floor.  Wander down the hall to those back steps.  There, I could stop and imagine my lucky flying flip.  Afterward, go back down to the gym and remember the line to get my “Hot Packs and Cold Packs” for lunch…”Fish on Fridays.”

I find that I’m a little nostalgic about Roosevelt Elementary School.  That feeling stops after I moved on from Roosevelt, but it remains in her hallowed halls of yesteryear.  Great teachers.  Great friends.  A few bullies, and a few mean girls, but overall, they were good years. all my goofiness with my niece, Krista

What memories do you have?  If you don’t mind, leave a comment and share something with me.