Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday

A couple years ago, this was my Easter Sunday experience. I wrote about it that same day. And I think about it every year.

Easter Sunday
 I spent a little time talking with a good man by the road today 
He's 43 looks 65 but he's got a lot to say 
He says to me "son listen up right quick we don't have much time 
The good Lord gives and he takes away but things have turned out fine
  I ran away at the age of 18 learned the ropes from a wine-o others took to be mean 
I pick up cans and eat from the trash I've had gangs in LA kick my ass 
But Luke I tell you theres nothing that I need the Lord provides and takes care of me  
But do one thing if you would my brother
 Just pray for me  
 Pray for me. 
Pray for me."  
I spent a little time talking with a good man by the road today.  
I sat there in my slacks and tie and I listened to what he had to say.  
He tells me of the time he was making big cash but the roof caved in
 I took my eyes off the Lord he tells me and he turns to me with a grin  
"I tell you son you gotta have big faith the Lord will smile and show his face
 I trust people Luke and it can turn out bad but Luke I'll tell you bout the times I've had
 I've had a court date for 20 years but I've never shown up and I stopped drinking beers
 I choose this lifestyle is that so wrong? Me and "real life" just never got along..."  
I said "Damn..Wayne. I agree." 
He raises an eyebrow and he turns to me. 
 Before he said anything a car drove past...they waved for Wayne and he hopped up to greet them. 
 They gave him a flannel to help keep warm...and he gave it to me. Instantaneously.  
Without question. Or recognition. Wayne gave it to me.
I sat there, speechless for a couple long moments. 
I said thank you Wayne for thinking of me. 
He smiles, says “I got my coveralls bro but you don't got nothing!” 
 As I got up to leave I asked him one more time "Wayne how can I help I feel I've wasted your time!" 
And he thanks me then for stopping by 
and I gave him my number as we said goodbye
 God will take care of me he said he's always given me a place to lay my head 
So go on home and don't you worry but Luke please 
Pray for me.  
Pray for me.
 Pray for me. 
I spent some time with a wise friend on the road today.  
He's a child of God and he preached a sermon worthy of Easter Sunday.   

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Snow in the Tucson Mountains!

We were supposed to go on a rafting trip, but due to forecasts in the 50's with rain, the trip was cancelled. Instead, we ended up in a cabin on Mt. Lemmon, the matriarch of the Catalina range that borders Tucson to the North. The second day snowed.


The snow makes noise
did you know that?
How often is it quiet enough to hear the snow come down
calm enough to feel it lightly kissing your lips
as it falls, dances, blankets the world.
The trees wear it as only royalty can
white, the color of purity and innocence.
the captivation of the eye
notable not for its lack of color
but for its lack of hue.
to be in the presence of this, the ceremony
bestowing the crown onto nature, with each
leaf, needle, flower, or pedal wearing it differently
consider yourself lucky
Many don't have the opportunity to see it.
Many don't want to.
Many can't.
So if you can
if you are there as the snow plays a quiet beating
drum as it ordains all of nature as kings and queens
You are lucky.


Snow separates humanity from nature
As the elements, as Mother Nature is blessing the
land with moisture, with beauty, man hides away.
The trees rise as they always do, but now their garments are
gilded, shining white to offset the stately greens.
The ground itself is no longer brown, dull, dead, but instead
white! Pure! Innocent! NEW!
Man hides from such baptism.
We deny our true place in the royal order, naught but a servant,
in favor of playing the king, the queen....the tyrant.
We have neither the patience nor the fortitude to wait for nature to crown us
as only She can.

Lessons in Vietnamese Hospitality

This is a bit after the fact, but I can't get over it.

Daniel and I were sent out to a water line the other day. On the way, Daniel told me how when he and Dan Wilhelm had been at this job before to assess what we needed to do, the homeowners had bought them lunch. I was stoked. It's one thing for a client to bring a glass of water, soda, coffee, or something like that, but I had yet to be fed on the job by a client.

Daniel and I showed up at the house and began working, mostly communicating with our client through his nephew, who came with his wife and daughter solely to help translate what we needed to do, or what they could help with. About 5 minutes after starting, Daniel and I were each given a 32 oz bottle of deliciously cold Evian water. "I have water!" I said, gesturing towards the truck. "Maybe later!" But they insisted, telling me that this water was cold, it was much better.

So we worked, digging, preparing our line, until half an hour later, 2 more bottles of water were produced. I looked at the first bottle they'd given me, barely half empty, and tried to tell them again, "I have water!" But once again, they stressed the need for a new, colder, bottle.

You get the idea. By lunchtime we each had 3 large cold bottles of water in our possession. I have never been so hydrated. It was so, so lovely. And then they brought us lunch. Sonic, no less. I've been trying to cut down on the meat that I eat (which is rare at my house anyway), but I knew that the gesture on their part was one that could not be turned down. So Daniel and I sat there and munched on our Sonic burgers, tater tots, and large Cokes. Our clients ate their own, making sure we were well supplied with straws, napkins...anything our hearts could ask for.

And the day continued, our clients continually wanting to help us, give us water, thank us for the work we were doing. At one point they brought out new bottles of water, and after seeing Daniel and I both grab for the one with a big chunk of ice in it, they started putting the water bottles in the freezer and bringing us half-frozen ones! They were in the way trying to help us move things, watching raptly as we soldered the final pieces into place. I have yet to interact so heavily with a client throughout the day in such a positive way.

And as we were gathering up our tools, preparing to leave, our client came out, this little old lady who spoke very little English, to hand us each an envelope, and to hand the both of us a bag. The bag was for the two of us, she said, and each of us had an envelope for ONLY ourselves.

After we were a half-mile away from their house, I couldn't take the suspense anymore, and opened up the bag for the two of us. 4 GIANT apples lay inside. I then opened up my envelope, and I looked at Daniel and said "No way." We had gotten paid! Quite handsomely, actually.

I think it is important to note that A)I'm a volunteer that doesn't make money very often, B)It's rare enough for any client to offer a single glass of water, not to mention 5 bottles and provide lunch, and C) I genuinely expected a handwritten thank-you note in the envelope, which I was excited for in itself!

Daniel and I had to talk to Scott to check on CHRPA's policy for being paid as a volunteer worker, but that didn't even matter. I was just in awe of the hospitality we were shown throughout the day: we were supposed to be the ones providing a service for them, but instead, it was them serving us.

How humbling it is to fancy yourself as a servant, only to be shown what unselfish servanthood looks like.