Dear America —
So then I up and ran out to meet you, went on a 10 city tour and walked your streets, held your babies, hugged your great-grandmothers, sat with you, drank coffee with you, laughed too loud with you, wept hard with you, and it’s come to this: I couldn’t love you all more. And then I realize that we can — we can all love each other more and love is what never fails.
America, meet America.
Humans, meet Humans.
We’re all more beautiful than we know — because we’re known and seen and loved in ways we don’t know.
… not one of us ever walks alone.
In New York State, the loveliest lady leaned over to me at the check-in counter & said “I think I know you & we’re already friends!” (This is always a true story no matter where we are: There is no such thing as a stranger — we are all already friends just waiting to meet. The world is hurting but the world is holy.)
And I shook her hand like an awkward fool, grabbed and pen and gifted her a bunch of pages with my brokenheart scrawled all across it, and she reached for my hand: “Our girl was airlifted to a city hospital last night because she needs an organ transplant & our whole world.. and she … And… we’re just… Heartbroken…”
And I pulled her in close and we held on & sometimes falling apart together is how things fall together… And there is no such thing as other people’s children — all children are all of our children.
When one of us grieves, we all grieve and when one of us feels pain, we all feel pain, and there is no such thing as us and them, but us with them, which means there is just all of us.
Then her husband gathered round us & choked it back, his hand resting on her shoulder: “Re-member the word He’s given us: Fear not. Believe.”
He turns to me. “I carry these verses around in my pocket. Hand them out to people. A Word for the day. A gift. And that’s one God gave for us, back when our daughter first got so sick: Fear not — Believe.”
Fear not — Believe… Those are the Words that the Maker of the World has given the entire world.
Fear not a grim forecast — Believe in the casting of a vision for more grace, more goodness, more God.
Fear not all the unknown things — Believe the God who knows all things.
Fear not each other — Believe in the best of each other.
Fear not — Hope always.
And Hope has hands and hope leans into where it hurts and hope gets to work so that hoped-for things can rise.
We stand there in the middle of the airport and we all hold hands, one mama flying to her hospitalized daughter and one believing father who hands out the GIFT of God’s Word to people he passes throughout the day — and we pray because this is where hope always begins, and hope never ends when prayers never end.
People? Meet People.
America, Meet America, Humans, Meet Humans.… because this is who we are meant to be — we find each other, we ache with each other, we hear each other, we hold on to each other and we pray for each other.
It’s true that it happens on Sundays, just before they pass the bread and the wine, but it’s happening too on street corners, happening in store aisles, happening in airports and offices and check out lines, the way we, the people, pass the peace.
You may not hear the quiet murmurings of “Peace of Christ to you” like you do on Sunday mornings — but you can witness it everywhere: The way an elderly man passes the peace of a smile to the woman picking over tomatoes too in the vegetable department, the way one dad with kids passes the peace of a nod to another dad juggling a screaming toddler and undo-operating stroller, the way we pass the peace and hold a door open for each other, the way we hold space for each other to think differently, live differently, see differently, the way that we pass each other peace and grace and respect and love no matter what is different between us.
If we passed the peace to every person we pass throughout the day, maybe some of the pain things would pass?
Maybe — When we pass the peace to each other, we can find a peace that passes all understanding.
This whole universe is Grace University. And honouring one another is how you get an honorary degree at Grace University. Everywhere, we get to learn. Everywhere is a class. Everything begins with the next face you see, the next person you stand beside.
There is no greater grant you can receive — than to grant grace.
Now is when we don’t grow cold to love. Now is when — we can’t let our need to be heard make us deaf to where we need to love.We can’t let our increasing need to be heard — decrease our need to be compassionate.
Because if our hearts no longer have compassion — than our hands no longer have anything to offer the world.
Compassion literally means co-suffering — and it’s only when we are willing to co-suffer with people, that we get to say that we have compassion for people. And it’s only when we have compassion for people — that we get to become more like Christ.
And one Lovely Lady in the Buffalo airport ask me to keep praying for her girl and I keep nodding yes. Who of isn’t in need of an organ transplant? Who of us doesn’t need a new heart?
She lets me pray with her and she walks the broken way of humility and vulnerability and generosity, giving me bits of her broken heart, and she lets me carry a bit of her brokenness, invites me to have compassion, to co-suffer a bit with her, and this is a kind of healing. I try to memorize the beauty of her.It’s never the things you carry that hurt you — but how you carry those things.
There is a beautiful broken way that offers a new way.
There is a beautiful way we can all be together.
There is autumn in the wind, there are geese flying south over cornfields. There are roads and ways to be taken and people meeting people, people fearing not and hoping always, and peace being passed between us all —
like gifts falling like a quiet mid-November rain.
Related: Find the free November GIFT calendar here & be the GIFT & pass the peace in the streets — for such a time as now… and the tour of America, Meet America; People meet People series will continue over the next several weeks — you are all such people! with such stories!
CBA Christian Retailing Review:
“Written in an amazingly touching style, this book will resonate with those who know pain.
It is as though Voskamp has captured and bottled the song of the hurting and gives them hope.
Passionate and Powerful.” ~ CBA Christian Retailing Review