parking proves painfully pricey

I intended to pay,  I tried to pay,  multiple times in fact.  Each time technology told me “transaction cancelled”.  What to do?   My friend was waiting, we weren’t going to be all that long.  I was parked literally across the street from the Starbucks, I could watch  my car from the window, right?  Ignoring my embarrassment,  (after all he was a stranger, didn’t know me), I stopped a guy walking his dog who passed by me on the street and asked for help.  He didn’t know how to work the thing either.  No one else was around at the moment and the clock was ticking.

So I proceeded to do the unthinkable.  I left my car at an expired parking meter and went across the street to meet my friend.  Remember the good old days when parking meters took nickels, dimes and quarters?  I thought that was working pretty well but I guess somebody didn’t and wanted to fix it.  I mean it is an inconvenience to always have to have change on hand and a credit card is easier to carry around than a bunch of change, so change is what happened.  Change to these newfangled, high tech parking meters, that require training before use. Coins are out, cards are in.

Sure enough, I got a ticket.  My $1.50 parking fee was now going to cost me $20.00. And there’s more.  Guess how the fine has to be paid?   On line or in person at a building downtown.  Technology wouldn’t let me pay at the curb, I’m guessing she’s not going to let me pay online either.  Now here’s where the irony increases dramatically.  In order to pay at the downtown location I will have to park my car at, you guessed it, a meter identical to the one that refused my payment at the site of my original interaction.  So while inside paying this fine, I run the risk of incurring now a second fine.  And if I don’t get down there within the allotted number of days, my original fine of $20.00 doubles to $40.00!  Soon, I am going to need a second job just to support my parking habit.  I see no end in sight. Whatever happened to paying by mail or by phone?  Both options have proved successful in the past.

“Then He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ ”   (Matthew 22:21)

Well, Caesar is cleaning up big time on all these parking meter transactions.  Free training should be provided, perhaps a “how to” video presentation.  And what about meter malfunction?  Maybe I wasn’t doing it wrong?  (or maybe I should just wear my glasses?)  Still, I think someone should look into a possible conspiracy theory related to paid parking spaces and unreliable meters.  Toll roads are going to be taking over soon, someone has to keep Caesar in check.  But for now, I’m off to go ‘render unto Caesar’ his due, though not with a cheerful heart, I confess. Wish me luck, that this time the parking meter will accept my card, because it will no longer take my coins.

sincerely,                Grace Day











to kneel or not to kneel? the power of a knee

Actions speak louder than words.  At least they are supposed to, according to this well known maxim.  But the silent action of a solitary football player has sparked a war of words.  A war that continues to escalate in intensity and impact.  A war that continues to expand outward from football into other arenas of our daily lives, if you will.  The ripple effect is in effect and the end is not in sight.

Irony fills every aspect of this controversy, brought about by one player’s initial action of taking a knee during the National Anthem.  Traditionally and historically, kneeling is seen as a sign of utmost respect and humility, both cross culturally and across religious lines as well.   But the objection being raised to this action of taking a knee is that it is disrespectful to our flag, our veterans and our country.  And indeed, it was intended as a protest of current social and racial injustices occurring in our country.

Point of view seems to be vital to understanding the many perspectives involved in the national dialogue that is the ripple resulting from this initial casting of the stone upon the water, if you will.  The surface may have appeared calm at the time, but turbulence swirling just beneath the surface is again being revealed for all to behold.  And what we behold we are forced to face.  And when we have the courage to face what has been revealed, we can find a way to forget our fears and forge ahead toward something new and full of promise.

Let’s start with the booing taking place at these NFL games during the national anthem.  NOT COOL.  Remember,  actions speak louder than words.  (or noises)  So, stand up tall, remove your hat (if need be),  put your hand over your heart and give your honor and respect to your country and to those who have fought for your freedom in this way.  These actions are a personal, powerful, peaceful statement of your position and doing this speaks far louder than your booing ever could.

Likewise, the taking of a knee, is a personal, powerful, peaceful statement of  one’s position. It speaks with eloquence and purpose.  In comparison, booing is weak. Booing is lame.  So enough with the booing already.  Sit, stand or kneel,  what we are witnessing as we see and comment on these players’ protests, is American freedom in action.  These players are free to express their views without fear of being beheaded, without fear of being imprisoned, without fear of losing their jobs and without fear of being silenced.

This is the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and where it continues to lead us today. There is power in non-violent, peaceful protest.  Let freedom ring, the freedom to take a knee.  Let freedom ring, the freedom to stand with hand over heart.  Let us define ourselves, each one, not by what we are against, but by what we are for.  In supporting our brothers’ right to free speech, we support our own right to that same free speech.  With all that free speaking going on, my hope is that some of us are also exercising our right to free listening.  And I pray we are listening well. Our shared futures depend upon it. We each want to feel we have been heard.

Maybe that’s why this particular dialogue is playing out before us in the NFL. These players have a platform and personal power that you and I probably don’t have.  (unless some of you, dear readers, are rich, famous celibs, in which case I beg your forgiveness for not giving you your due)  Nonetheless, some feel the call to use their platform for causes greater than themselves.  Ultimately, we will find ourselves indebted to them for trying to make our world a better place, a more just place for all of us.

This simple, non-violent act of taking a knee has opened dialogue and debate, long overdue and forces us once again to evaluate how we treat each other in this country.  You know what I would like to see?  I would like to see the players on a team with locked arms (as some have been doing) but ALL on the team with locked arms, those standing and those kneeling, preferably alternating those who have chosen to stand with those who have chosen to kneel.  The purpose?  To show support and respect for each teammate’s choice and position.  This would be powerful beyond any words.  I would like to see Rishard Matthews come out of the tunnel, join his teammates in support and be supported in return.

Freedom only works if each of us allow others the very freedoms we desire for ourselves.  These players have earned their platform through hard work and dedication.  If they choose to use their platform in a peaceful, non-threatening, non harmful way to affect change, that has to be respected.  What cannot be respected or tolerated are threats to take away their jobs simply because they exercised their right to free speech.  Taking a knee harms no one and does not interfere with their job performance.  Let freedom ring.

We can each draw inspiration from this drama playing out before us in the daily papers and the daily news.  We have platforms too.  They may be small but we can do whatever is within our power to do at work, at home, in our churches and in our neighborhoods to bring about the justice and liberty for all that our pledge of allegiance promises.  Keeping in mind that our “inalienable rights” derive from our Creator God and not from any government, we should be diligent to ensure that our government protects those rights while not infringing upon them in any way.

The irony of the action/symbol of taking a knee as a position of protest and power is not lost on me, nor I suspect does it elude anyone else who has experienced and therefore knows the power of prayer.  It is often from a position of bended knees that we bend God’s ear in petition for ourselves and for others.  It is when we feel powerless in the face of great obstacles that we seek what we need in prayer. There is a power in prayer beyond our human understanding.  What Kaepernick began as a call for justice and equality, we could all take as a call to prayer. Prayer for our nation, prayer for each other,  a prayer for peace here and around the world.  The posture of strength is on our knees.  Let us each one take a knee.  Let freedom ring!

The ultimate irony in all this is that there will come a day when we all, each and everyone of us will take a knee, two to be exact.  Not in protest, but in awe and humility and submission and confession and joy and wonder we will all do this.  This will coincide with the words resounding,  “free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, free at last!”

“that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  (Philippians 2:10-11)

sincerely,           Grace Day





living “ful”

today I want to live “ful”,  that is full of all the “fuls”.   I want to be mindful of others and what I can do for them today.  I want to be thoughtful, and helpful, and graceful and beautiful in word and deed and grateful, I so want to be mindful of being grateful today.  And merciful,  yes, I want to be always full of mercy. (probably because I am so often in need of it myself)  And I want to live today hopeful and peaceful and joyful as well.  And thankful, but being full of thanks is the same as being full of “grate”, isn’t it?  I certainly would not want to live thankless or grateless, for that matter.  Would you?

I realize I want to live kindful and heartful and ruthful and pennyful and pitiful and friendful. Because if not,  I will be living kindless and heartless and ruthless and penniless and pitiless and friendless.  None of those are a good way of being or of living.  I know I want to live cheerful and gleeful, because God says a cheerful heart is good medicine.  (Prov. 17:22)   I guess I want to live sleeveful, because it is too cold to be sleeveless. I want to live fanciful, because I don’t want to be fanciless.  I want to live wishful because to live wishless is to live without dreams.  I definitely want to live sleepful because being sleepless makes me tired and cranky.  I long to live clueful as well, I so often find myself clueless in this fast paced, technology driven culture.

I definitely want to live timeful,  to be full of time is a great gift.    There’s one “ful” I definitely don’t want to be however, and that’s forgetful.  I don’t want to be full of forgetfulness.  In order to live grateful, I need to remember often the many blessings of God and the many kindnesses from others that I receive each day.

“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits —  who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.”  (Psalm 103:2-4)

yes, I long to live “ful”,  to live fully each day.  And with God that is possible.

” . . . I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  (John 10:10)

“And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him (Jesus) to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.”  (Ephesians 1:22-23)

“and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”  (Colossians 2:10)

” (I pray you) may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  (Ephesians 3:18-19)

sincerely,     Grace Day




the man on my corner

There’s a man on my corner, I see him there as I pass by on my way to and from work each day.  Actually, maybe it’s more his corner than my corner.  I’m sure he thinks so, seeing as how he spends more time there than I do.  At any rate, he is there, sitting with his sign, waving to those who pass by and accepting donations from outstretched arms from the cars waiting on the light to turn green.

I have been one of those outstretched arms upon occasion.  But I wanted to be more than an anonymous donor.  I wanted to know his story.  Everybody has a story, we all do.   I became curious about what his story might be.  So I spent time with him now and then on his corner, on OUR corner.  I knew his face, now I know his name.  No one should be nameless and faceless, no one should be invisible.

And so we talked.  He walks with a limp.  He is a veteran, as too many of our homeless are.  But I also discovered that this particular man on my corner is not homeless, just having trouble making ends meet.  It is often such a thin line that separates the housed from the homeless.  The stories of the people that I see not only on my corner but on other corners, were I to know them, would be as different as the individuals to whom they belong.  Perhaps, homelessness has not one root cause, but in each life results from circumstances coming together in a perfect storm of destruction leaving little left of the life the individual once knew.

Starting over must be a daunting task.  As I sat with the man on my corner, there were plenty who offered him “fish” that day.  No one offered him a fishing pole. How could they in the short time before the traffic light changed color and they were forced to move on, both literally and figuratively.  Besides, if you’re going to give a person a fishing pole, you should be prepared to give them fishing lessons to go along with it.

So my friend will probably continue to sit on my corner, his corner, as he has done in the past.  He has a smile and a wave for everyone that passes by and seems content with the small kindnesses he receives each day.  It is enough.  Daily bread. In time, I may learn more of his story and of the circumstances that brought him to my corner.  But for today, it is enough that we have our daily bread and that we thank God for it.

“The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.”  (Psalm 145:9)

“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”  (I Timothy 6:18)

sincerely,       Grace Day





I thought I must have heard wrong, so I asked again,  “point to Indiana on the map”.   The student looked up at me and shrugged his shoulders.  I pointed to the second handout, an unlabeled world map and asked, “show me the United States”.  After considering for a moment, he pointed tentatively to someplace in Africa.  I am NOT making this up.  I was dumbfounded.  This was a freshman social studies class in a public high school.  The assignment was to label the fifty states on a map of the U.S.  and to label the continents and oceans on the world map, both of which consisted of outlines but no labels.

I feel certain every student in the room could have told me we were in Indiana. But the fact that they couldn’t identify at least this one state, their home state, on the map was disturbing to me on so many levels.  They had no sense of where we fit in geographically with the rest of our country nor where we as a country fit into the larger environment of our world.

From early on in school students are taught to use “context clues” to help them to figure out the meanings of words they don’t know or are unsure of.  This is a sound learning strategy because context determines meaning for our words. Context is absolutely necessary to determine the meaning of words that have multiple meanings, which seems to be the case for so many of our English words. So context becomes essential in order for a student to identify the correct meaning of any given word in any given sentence.

Actually, it’s not just students; we all need context to determine meaning and not just the meaning of our words.  Our lives need, our lives require context in order to have meaning.  We all crave meaning, we want our lives to count for something. Context determines meaning in our lives just as context determines the meaning of a word in a sentence.  The larger the context, the greater our understanding and the less the chance for a misunderstanding.  This is why the accusation that something someone wrote or said or did, was “taken out of context” is always a serious one and should be a cause for concern.  Misunderstandings are likely to be the result of taking something out of context because it is the context that provides and clarifies the true meaning of whatever was said or done.

I love the dictionary definition of “context” for this reason.  It highlights the importance of context simply by the process of defining the word.  Context is defined as “the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.”  It is only within some type of context that our lives can be fully understood and assessed. We crave meaning and our context provides us that meaning.  Our context determines our meaning.

It was that day in the classroom that I realized something, these students lack context in every sense of the word.  No wonder they struggle to find meaning in their lives.  They have no geographical/physical context in which to place themselves and so to know how they fit in to their immediate community, their country or the global world in which we live.  They simply have no awareness of nor concern for anything or anyone outside of their immediate sphere of influence.  And it is a very small sphere.

They have no historical context for their lives as well.  Without knowing history, those events that have come before, shaping the rise and fall of nations, determining destinies and bringing us to where we are today; without a knowledge and understanding of these things, students have no sense of how they fit now into this time period of mankind’s existence on earth.  They don’t see the big picture, don’t see the continuity from generation to generation, don’t see that they too have a part to play in history’s unfolding.  They lack purpose because they lack historical context.

The students also lack personal context.  With broken families commonplace for so many of us, and no permanent place to call home, they may not know where they fit in as a family member.  And where we fit in our families is the most crucial context of all for each of us.  This context determines our identity, this context IS our identity.   I’m thinking back to the definition of context,  “that which allows something (or someone) to be fully understood.”  Our personal context is what allows us to fully understand ourselves and others if we know their personal contexts.  Context is the key that unlocks understanding.

We all need to know where we fit in the grand scheme of things.  We all need context.  Paul says in Acts 17:28 that “in Him (God) we live and move and have our being.”  Now that’s total context!  It’s this context that allows me to live the life God has given me with meaning and purpose.  God is the context of my life.

“You hem me in  — behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me.”  (Psalm 139:5)

“The Lord is my Sheperd, I shall not be in want.  . . .  Surely, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  (Psalm 23:1,6)

That’s all the context I’ll ever need.  Who I belong to IS my context.  My Heavenly Father has paid for my past, provides for my present and is preparing my place with Him for an eternal future.   In Him, I am fully understood.

sincerely,             Grace Day








a thousand points of light

“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.”  (John 1:5)

Quite the contrary, the light has shone all the brighter during these first potentially dark days following the mass shooting.  In an instant, our collective world, the world we all share, changed yet again.  But just as first impressions are not the final reality, this act of evil and destruction will not have the last word.  Not even close.

Rather this single act of darkness unleashed Thomas Wolfe’s “ten thousand points of light”.  Or as C. S. Lewis said in The Magician’s Nephew, “One minute there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out.”  And they are still leaping out, still being made manifest; gaining in strength and number, burning steadily and with increasing power, already outshining the moment of darkness which made their appearance necessary in the first place.  And these thousand plus points of light will outlast the moment of darkness.

It is all these individual acts of heroism, compassion, kindness, caring, selflessness, that are coming to light and being made known to us as we suffer with and for those we do not even know, that we will remember.  We feel their pain because we know what it is to lose someone we love.  We are united in our humanity.

A community has come together to help and to serve those devastated by this tragedy in a beautiful way.  Actually many ways, many individual acts of kindness, a thousand points of light and more continue.  One tangible expression of caring and sympathy is the healing garden/park being created even as I write this.  The park will include a tree in memory of each person who lost their life in this tragic shooting.

“He who plants a tree, plants hope.”  (Lucy Larcom)  That’s what the thousand points of light reveal as they ban together, burning away the darkness, hope is revealed.  She has been there from the beginning, but was momentarily obscured in the darkness of the initial evil act.  H. G. Wells stated, “But never was the black fabric of war so threadbare.  At a thousand points, the light is shining through.”

And indeed it is.  We saw it in Florida and we are seeing it again in Las Vegas. People are coming together, there is an outpouring of kindness and love and cooperation that wasn’t there just a moment before.  One act of darkness has released ten thousand points of light and acts of compassion.

The light overwhelmes the darkness.  The light prevails.  The light lasts.  It is the light that will long be remembered.  It is the light that brings comfort and hope.  It is our acts of kindness that ripple on and on, spreading goodwill and stopping in its’ tracks any ripple from the evil act.  My regret is that it takes such an act of evil to release the light in each of us, to compel us to put aside our perceived differences and to come together for the greater good.

Love DOES overcome hate.  Light DOES overcome darkness.  There is now great hurt, but there will come healing. And always there is hope.  We have witnessed yet again the release of the light and the hope for humanity that its’ releasing reveals.

“In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  (Romans 12:21)

sincerely,       Grace Day