Sunday in the Park with Sherry

At the day job recently, I thought I had entered the Twilight Zone. After lunch, following a disturbing report from one of our retirees who had just called the police, I crept to the edge of our private park just to see if what was told to me could possibly be true. A man on a picnic bench faced the church behind our park and shouted in its direction. Was he mad at God? After a while, he put on a hoodie, pulling the hood over his head and rested on his elbows. He stared at that church, deep in conversation with himself, or something (one?) that haunted him. He would then shoot to his feet and gesticulate in a mad pattern, conversing like an impassioned composer.

Having someone terribly haunted by life is not so unusual in our park, but to have someone so dramatically unwell go seemingly unnoticed by all but one sent my mind into divergent overload. A handful of residents trickled by me, laughing at my warning. “I’m not sure if he’s a danger to others or not,” I would say, “but it’s probably a good idea to stay out of the park”. One of them chuckled and mentioned that she had seen him earlier that morning. “He’s quoting Bible verses…some kind of mental religious illness,” she said. I was caught between my own chuckle and wondering if she got her religious education from the evening news.

She promised not to go near him, but she would walk along the paths outside the park. I watched her circle the lot, then enter the park the corner farthest from me. She walked slowly past the man, paused in deep study, then went on her way.

Another man came out with his beautifully fluffy dog. I asked him the breed. “Dog,” he said. Another chuckle greeted me before he said, “You people and your need to know the breed.”
“I guess dog is all we really need to know,” I said, understanding, as I scratched her beautiful fluffy head. I then explained the possible danger in the park and he responded in his lovely British accent. “If he comes near me or my dog, I’ll pound him to the ground.” I will say he put some chipper in his step and continued into the park. Neither he nor his dog seemed to pick up any bad vibes from the guy.

An impression came over me that I was to learn something from all of this. Many times in my life, people have accused me of spacing out in mid thought when the reality is I have a very active mind that pummels me with so many avenues on how act that I have to absorb things first. In my assumed slowness, my ideas travel at lightning speed and tend to tangle into some sort of metaphorical puzzle—so much so that I could write entire novels on how certain events could go before I decide on the best path. In this moment, when I was thinking about the one resident who complained when all the others did not, I asked God for his take. Why not? He seemed to be at the crux of this issue anyway. A tree showered down a thousand leaves, turning the park into a fairyland while this man continued to shout Bible verses. It was like Disneyland attempted a takeover of the property. Ahh. I recognize this. This is not normal. This is actually the best day I’ve had at work in a loooong time because it was so delightfully weird.

I managed to warn a few ladies away who thanked me. They hung around and we watched to see what would happen. We could have used some popcorn.

It was about an hour from the initial phone call before the police arrived. The cop, very friendly, asked me if the park was ours (yes), and if I wanted him to move the guy on. How could I not hesitate? This was not a normal world that had come upon our park. It was a fantastical picture where only people who had lived a good long while and had seen a good many things knew: time will tell.

Leo Tolstoy said in War and Peace, “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”

Of course, it took my own erratic paragraph of words (oh, the thoughts that piled on top of each other) to finally ask him to make the man leave—it wasn’t really a choice because it was my job to do so, but the creative human, non-minion of a corporate company wanted to be able to say, leave the man alone with his Jesus. Whether sane or only a little bit sane, I believe a person should be free to ask, and even yell at God, all the hard questions in their own way. In fact, most people yield to man, who is restricted to rules, culture and bias. Where’s the truth in that?

The man left peacefully. We shall see if he shows up again. Word has it he’s been to our park before. I hope answers are gently showered upon him.

Time is on my list for May. Let’s take closer looks, investigate, lean into the quandaries of time. Join me on IG and facebook.

The Summer Files: Day 55

As I write this, The Children are beating the fluff out of each other with their pillows. It’s a nice alternative to what transpired earlier. The shouting. The pointing of fingers.

Even The Canine found a dark corner in which to hide.

The three-year difference is rearing its hormonal head as The Daughter shifts into pre-teen WhaTeVer. Her language is changing, somewhat like the confusing of tongues at the tower of Babel. She speaks Unicorn-Angst, while The Son speaks Ninja-Play. I act as the interpreter, which is a lot like putting your head into a blender. Now press chop. Yeah, summer is awesome.

I work at home (at job # 1), which means in the summertime, I run nowhere fast. Imagine clocking out and driving home for things like, mediating between unicorns and ninjas, cleaning the unidentifiable mound in the fridge before it molds, sweeping piles of corn flakes from the floor, and all those fulfilling things moms do. The productivity as far as work goes, is as good as it sounds.

Job # 2 is at night, and not at home, but the hours drag into the wee morning, which combined with Job-Home and Job-Mom, keeps me from being Supermom. Yes, the house is messy. Yes, my kids get into stuff when I’m running on Unicorn fumes. Once, another almost-mom came to visit, looked around the house and asked if my kids made their beds. While looking at my kids’ unmade beds.

I wondered, briefly, how her head would fare in the blender.


(Btw, I work at a retirement home, going on seventeen years now. I’ve never once heard a retiree say they wished they had cleaned their house more often.)

The nice thing about being home for the Child-Babel years, is that I get to have really cool conversations with my kids (I’m grateful that I get to do this rather than leaving it to a day-care provider). Like how God made them unique, which means they aren’t supposed to strive to please their peers. Even if that means being less cool in order to find their destiny. And so they can learn God’s language.

Even if their friends’ paths are bedazzled in perfectly sculpted rainbows while theirs looks a little more Jackson Pollock. That’s okay, because God knows how to speak to each one of us.

I’m not sure how far talking goes. Words let loose in the air can fly away from their intended eardrums. But I’m here.

And God’s here with a plan.

The Perfect Gift

What’s to be found on the day after Christmas? The things we received are nice, maybe even needed, but they don’t satisfy–and that’s what we’re really looking for isn’t it? That thing that fills the empty/hurting places.

My greatest gift this year was the ability to attend my kids’ Christmas performances (all 5 of them) without any conflict with my mysteriously increasing hours at work or the stomach bug that resides with us this month. Jesus hears every prayer, every longing.

We were also blessed with a white Christmas–such winter magic is a raritysnow-xmas in Arizona.

And finally, the reminder that Jesus showers us with such abundant grace when we keep our eyes on his star, and not on our disappointments. What’s a disappointment when we have unconditional Love?


I sketched my daughter sulking on the patio
because sometimes you have to see that a bad mood is a choice you sit in.
But while I drew up the chalk to make her lash
and blew her hair wild like the wind that caught it,
I was the one who forgot she was grouchy
and just saw her as precious.
I think that’s how God sees us
all the time.


Grace and the Doppelganger

My kids are sweet, round-cheeked, kitten-cuddly miracles. But they have doppelgangers. Oh yes, these creatures of darkness bear fangs. They shout and push their competitive natures into my peace at least three times a day. It’s a tug-of-war about which creature got more juice, who got to sit on Mommy’s lap the longest. Who got the most violent…

“Mommy, he hit me, and threw my baby bear!”DSCF1156


But I know what it’s really about. It’s why when people come to my desk at work and dump their bad day into my lap, I know better than to take it personally (although I do bite on occasion). It’s not about who got served first. It’s not even about the doppelganger who complained about the staff member that refused to personally clear the snow around their car, de-ice the path from their car to the front door andwipeofftheirshoessotheydon’tslipontheimportedtile. It’s really not. And when someone flips you off in traffic because you’re only going 5 miles over the speed limit instead of the expected 15, it’s really not about how much they dislike you or your driving decisions. Like my kids, what they’re really saying, in the deepest parts of their heart is: “What about me?”

People hurt. And they display their pain in various ways. Revengeful natures, criticism, anger, jealousy; it’s all a masked plea to gain the attention of our parent.

“Do you see me God? How much do you love me, really?”

Even those of us who know Him forget how much he has already done for us. Would I, like Him, sacrifice my son for the jerk who spit on me? No, I wouldn’t. But God did.

His only beloved son, who at one time was a child–a round-cheeked kitten-cuddly miracle, minus the doppelganger side.

My kids hear me only when they’ve quieted down and taken their masks off. Otherwise, they get consumed by The Creatures, blinded to how much they’re loved.

A good plan for the New Year would be to live in grace. To give it, receive it, and give thanks for all that’s been given to us. That’s where we find peace.