Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thoughts on July 4th

I cried myself sick and begged him (to the point of hitting my knees) to change his mind, but it was set. Whatever he lost and continues to lose, he offered freely; there's been no theft. I watch him, sometimes, and my daddy, too--both of them reading lips--and think: I hate you, you piece of shit country; you're not worth it.

But that's not true.

Because I've sought Jesus and found Him easily in this place. I can walk into a cemetery and hug Him. I can even buy Him off the shelves and set Him on my very own dining-room or coffee table.

Do you know: there are tiny churches along our highways where strangers can enter freely and without question? Places where travelers can pause, reflect, pray?

Wytheville, Virginia

The roadside church above is 12' x 16' and open daily from 6 am until 10 pm. We pull into its empty parking lot, and Clementine immediately spots Jesus in the garden. She shouts: "Mama, look! Jesus!"

And Charleigh, not even two, recites proudly: "Jesus loves me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so!" 

My daughters know who Jesus is. He means something to them. They know He loves them, and they want to sit on His lap. Trouble is: He's breakable. I almost stop them from climbing Him, but then I think: I don't know why He's here, if not for this.

 We go inside.

I feel His presence right away. I record our visit in one book, write out my prayers in another. The bench at the altar looks inviting; I'd kneel and pray if I could close my eyes and concentrate, but I have children who want to explore.

After we leave, Clementine says: "Mama, I'm sad. I don't understand why Jesus wasn't in His little house."

I tell her: "He was in there. He's everywhere, even when we can't see Him."

And men and women have bled and died for our freedom to choose: my religion, or a religion other than my religion, or no religion at all. I fail daily, but I choose Jesus daily, too, and my ease in choosing comes with a price tag.

Politics make me crazy. I'm guessing they make everyone crazy! But I love this country. I love its Skeeter-Dogs and Slush Puppies and roadside architecture.

Wytheville, Virginia

Wytheville, Virginia

Outside of a church (The King's Lighthouse) in Bedford, Virginia. I'd love to know the story.

***Update: Mark Cline created the mama rhino and, most likely, the baby rhino, too. Danny Johnson hired Cline to make the mama; she helps folks locate Johnson's orchard. To read more on this story, click here.

Lynchburg, Virginia

Mark Cline Creation

I love that my children can sleep safely and soundly on clean white sheets four hours from home.

I love that the sweet man who created this

Bedford, Virginia

can sleep so soundly under this open, garage door

that, within feet of him, I can turn my minivan around without his ever opening his eyes or closing his mouth. Men and women have bled and died for our sense of security. I don't want to take it for granted.

And I do love my country. I really do.

1 comment:

  1. Love that little church and that it's open like that. I love our country too. Not the crap politics and all the nonesense, but the good. Happy fourth girl.