A New Look

Yesterday, I started blogging based on the #rethinkchurch 2015 Lenten Photo-A-Day Project. I think that you really just have to post a picture to Instagram, but I am using it as an excuse to blog each night. You can sign up for a daily reminder via email, which I did. Today’s word is Look. I am considering a lot of different ways I look at things in my life that have popped up over the last 24 hours.

The biggest news is seen above. Lucy lost her first tooth at 5 and 3/4! It has been loose for over two weeks. But this afternoon I asked her about it. She pushed it and it popped out. It looks like a piece of rice. It will be a miracle if the tooth fairy ever finds it. We requested the pillow Mom embroidered for me as a small child. And even in that tiny pocket, it takes quite a bit of digging. I didn’t shed a tear, but I do regret that we did not have a family portrait made or even her portrait painted before she lost her tooth. That was my goal since before I even knew I might have kids. But it is not in the cards for right now, which leads me to my next look.

We finally had Christian dig out the window sill in Lucy’s bedroom and I was able to look at what is essentially a cavity in our house. I have known that we had this place since a few months after moving in. Granted I didn’t find during our inspection or due diligence period. But I finally saw what I feared. There is more to see once we remove the metal flashing. But we took the first step. And it was a total hack job. The window trim was tacked onto two paint stirrers.

I have been mulling over a phrase I heard while scanning the radio last week – Turn a curse into a blessing. I didn’t hear the preacher’s full message. But I began asking the question, specifically related to coal ash. But now I see that it applies to my home life. I intend to fill that empty cavity full of insulation. Because at this point in my life, I fantasize about how to make my house warmer. The timing is perfect, because Home Depot is coming to give me an estimate on attic insulation in the morning.

Turning to coal ash, I had a lengthy conversation with a local expert who studied Belews Lake for twenty years, ending twenty years ago. So this guy knows his stuff and has been thinking about it for the last forty years, since the plant’s opening. I asked him what would be the best case scenario. How do we turn this curse into a blessing? It is a very complicated issue and he didn’t have an easy answer. But he gave us a new way to look at it and something that we had never considered before. Perhaps it is not the water from the lake or the Dan River that is making people sick, but the radiation from the coal ash itself. Granted this is outside his scope of study and just his personal opinion. I’ve noticed that scientists and doctors are way more sensitive about sharing their personal opinion than I am. Granted I am not a scientist. I just continue to ask questions and hope to find guidance on different angles to consider. I found that showing up and asking questions goes along way with advocacy work and making change. Just call me “What If?,” which I was called by my third-grade teacher for years.

As I try to pursue this issue of coal ash with some persistence, I found hope in the second part of Isaiah 58, which was shared in today’s devotion on Look.

If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.

I pray this is so. Amen.

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