Dragging Feet for Day 2 of Celtic Advent

November 16

Spend time with a favorite image of art.

Today I hoped to spend a little more time with this piece of art, which I created a year ago as part of my Souvenir series, looking back at a six-week trip we took to Europe seven years ago.

As I search through my blog, I see that I never wrote about Dragging Feet. So here it goes: Before I left for our trip and while I was there, Isaiah 55 kept popping up everywhere. This piece refers to verse 12: 12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

One day while sightseeing in Liverpool, I found Peace – literally at the Walker Art Gallery. These are her feet. She is a statue created by Edward Onslow Ford in 1887. After finding her, I felt that I was ready to return to DC at peace with our time abroad. And again seven years later, once I returned to North Carolina, I was excited to be back where I could roam the outdoors freely once again. This felt like a self-portrait.

Now that I was home and at peace, I needed to get to work and stop dragging my feet. Over the last year, I discovered that I wasn’t at complete peace and had a lot of low-level anxiety. In fact after reading One Word, my word was Peace. So I am still working on finding peace this year. I made substantial headway as I tapped away a lot of anxiety using EFT, which I began practicing in ernest around Lent. The practice has been totally beneficial and, quite frankly, life-chaning. One of the many things that I realized is that I have a very bad practice of being self-deprecating. I consider it a major success that I was NOT self-deprecating as I spoke to the Smithsonian curator about my work last weekend.

Imagine my surprise when once again these versus from Isaiah popped up for me just last night. I was perusing my collection of library books. One that I checked out is “Change Your Words Change Your Life” by Joyce Meyer, because I am trying my best to stay positive. I find some stories from the recent past are very hard for me to shake, which I believe is a lack of faith on my part.

10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

It is hard for me not to reflect on how I have grown as an activist since 2010 as I left our coal ash meeting today. And somehow these words bring me back to how I feel that I have been called to serve as a leader in our community to stand up for environmental justice. I believe with all my heart that we stayed in DC for two years longer than we probably would have otherwise so that I could lead the Downtown DC Kids Playground group and undergo training on how to organize. I also believe that the playgrounds will eventually be built in DC and that I was helping to plant seeds with my words as I talked to people about what Downtown could look like with potential play spaces.

When we were in Florida last year for Christmas, I kept getting word of plans for playground after playground. And CEOs were speaking about the need for play in the neighborhood. I was stunned. And so how do I continue to plant God’s seeds now?

The coal ash is going to be cleaned up. The question remains will it be capped in place in Belews Creek or removed to a safe storage facility. We certainly hope and pray for the second scenario. Like I said before, I can look back and see how I was prepared to help stand up and demand for a safe place to live and play in Stokes County. But it requires more than just me speaking up. It requires all of the people who have been impacted by living in the community and recreating at Belews Lake to share their stories. At least, sign this petition.

If you have a story to share, I will help you. I promise.

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This Advent Season, I am going to attempt to practice Ideas for Living Joyfully: Forty Days of Celtic Advent and the Twelve Days of Christmas 2014 by Susan Forshey. I intend to create all forty posts in advance and then add in pictures from Instagram or thoughts each day as I go along. But if I don’t post anything, it is because life got in the way. Which is fine and expected. You can still read Susan’s suggestions for the day. I don’t want this to become another To Do. I especially love Susan’s directions.

Practice Grace. No need to do them all or every day. Let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart!

I love how gracious Susan is in her description of this project:

For each day, from November 15 until Epiphany, I’ve thought of one thing I can do to practice joy and gratitude, and to give love, putting it on a calendar that draws on ancient Advent and Christmas traditions. … (more about the three traditions she is drawing from here) … The ability to give and experience love and joy doesn’t just happen, it needs to be stretched and strengthened. And over time, the capacity to love and to joy increases. Let the Holy Spirit lead!

Please join along!

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