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Smoke in My Eyes
April 29, 2020

On Sunday morning I was scrolling through my phone (I seem to be doing that a lot these days) and I came across a story that caught my attention. It was from ESPN about an NBA game back in 2003. A young girl was set to sing the National Anthem before the playoff game in Portland, Oregon, but after the first line something went wrong, and she forgot the words! Panic set in and she was like a deer in the headlights. All of a sudden, the home team's coach walked over to her and started singing the words in her ear and together, she got through it. As she concluded the anthem, the crowd erupted at such a touching gesture and the game started. On Sunday, someone must have left a window open in my house and someone else must have had a fire going early in the morning, because my eyes started to water from the "smoke" that had blown into my eyes. Of course, that wasn't the case; the clip was emotional, and I was responding to it. I have been doing that a lot lately and maybe you have too.                                                                                    

Like most people, I don't like to cry, especially in front of others, but lately tears seem to be more common in my life. A song swells to that perfect pitch and I get choked up. The story about the kind gesture that someone did for someone else, sends me looking for the Kleenex box. The picture from years ago that shows up in my "Memories" that is connected to a great memory has me dabbing the corners of my eyes with my sleeves. Tears are more common than they usually are and that is okay. Things are crazy right now and we are all responding to it in our own ways and doing our best to get through it. It's okay if you feel off, things are off right now. It's okay if you start crying at the drop of a hat, this is an emotional time. It's okay if you're struggling, a lot of us are. It's okay if you're not okay because we are all trying to figure this out.

The one thing I love about Jesus (among many things) is he never seems to ridicule people like maybe we would. If you've ever watched the TV show The Simpsons, there's this one supporting character named Nelson who is known as the lead school bully, but what I remember him for was how he always laughed at someone else's misfortune with his classic "Ha-HA!". He would point and laugh at them. I never picture Jesus doing that. I picture Jesus being awoken from a nap in the boat and responding to his terrified friends and calming the storm. I picture Jesus reaching out and physically connecting with those who were exiled from their communities. I picture Jesus handing me a tissue when the smoke gets in my eyes, with no judgment or awkwardness, just a constant comforting presence. Tears may be more common right now and that's okay, because we have never gone through anything like this. Thankfully, we know a God who understands our emotions and who even cries in the presence of overwhelming grief. I'm still going to blame those tears on smoke, but at least I know it’s okay.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Chris 

Last Published: April 30, 2020 1:13 PM