I called the French Gypsies first thing this morning to discuss ideas for the day. I had planned on spending Election Night with them, but they got entangled in Hollywood and hadn’t even returned to the OC hotel by 8pm. Been there. Who hasn’t…?
But the weather was a problem this morning. Schedule-wise, it would have been a perfect day to spend at the beach. However for the first time in seven months, it wasn’t sunny. After doing some research, I called to propose a day at Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Very tranquil and educational, with a lorikeet feeding exhibit that would enthrall the kids (and me…).
When I called, the French Gypsies were already on the road to ‘Vegas, Baby.
Another reason why I love the Gypsies: They are always up for a road trip. Plus, they are very good drivers.
That I can wear sparkly clothes, or lacey skirts with a hoody and feel right at home are added bonuses.
It isn’t that they don’t have serious issues that they confront. But those issues don’t cause delays in their adventures. They just fix things while driving down the highway.
The election is now over. The enmity between the two candidates probably wasn’t an act. One avoided national service by biking around France on a Mission to advance a religion that included, at that time, the belief that all Black people are damned. One is only half-White, and so can never appease the Right, right?
Some conflicts can only be overcome by putting them in the rear view mirror. And anyone who has made mistakes – such as me – cherishes an opportunity to change and put things in the past. Even more valuable and rare is a time of amazing grace when the differences or our problems still exist but we are given an arms-length of time when we are kept far enough away to keep from doing damage but haven’t yet received an itemized bill of what we owe.
Conflicts occur when people do bad things to each other. During those times, the word ‘compromise’ seems traitorous and filthy. But after the heat from cheeks that are red from humiliation or rage subsides, the appeal of ‘compromise’ can gently begin to appear.
We are now entering the season of compromise. It includes being humble instead of showboating. It entails beating swords into the ploughshares that can be used to cultivate and harvest. It must entail giving grace to the unchanged while protecting against retaliation in the interim time.
We have all benefited from this type of mercy. We know the shape of it. How can we offer less?
Paul wrote a letter to a wealthy man named Philemon to persuade him into granting mercy to a runaway slave named Onesimus. The letter became part of the New Testament because of the inspired wisdom that is packed into its tiny, blog-sized length. Slavery: Bad idea. Forgiveness/Freedom: Good idea. But the obvious conversation sometimes needs to be dug out and brought to light with the ploughshares and other gardening tools instead of the sharp edge of the sword. Put a sword through the dirt and you cut deep, but the beets or diamonds are still covered in the mud.
A ploughshare is made of hardened steel like a sword, but it comes after the ground-breaking work of the coulter – another type of blade – as part of a plow. The edge of a ploughshare enters the broken earth at an angle, like a compromise, turning it over and revealing what has been hidden and preparing it to receive the new seed. In the right season, it is the perfect tool for the perfect task. Use a sword and the ground stays hardened and immovable except where it has been cut. Eventually, the blade gets dulled and the ground stays barren.
It’s time now to turn over the broken earth and plant. Then we can make hay while the sun shines.
Or go the ‘Vegas if it doesn’t.
Quote of the Blog from Dale Carnegie: “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”
Image of “Onesimus and Philemon”, copyright 2003 La Vista Church of Christ.