Monday, September 9, 2013

One Big Circle

I knew it as it was unfolding that I was living a memory that would sear.  I knew it as we grabbed hands and the old man pitched the first note that these moments would settle into some safe corner.  I looked to the left and saw the short, sassy hair of my dad’s only sister and looked to the right and saw the tall, thin silhouette of my aging grandfather.  And linked to each of them was another family member, distant or immediate.  Together we sang unabashedly or hummed lowly, as the words to the old gospel hymn, “Will the Circle be Unbroken” climbed the tips of the pines braided through the southern sky. 

What I didn’t know was how often I would reach my hand into the deep corner to rake my fingers over that memory.  What I didn’t know was how often I would pull out the snapshot, smooth out the wrinkles, and take another look. 

Because it isn’t often that we hold hands with so many of our kin.  It’s rare that we form a circle deep and wide, and holler through the woods for everyone to come out of their cabins and join in.  And it doesn’t happen every day that we lace fingers and raise voices, unaware that roots are burrowing deep and spreading below, grounding us for the ages.  But when it does happen, and voices are raised and hands are helped while kinship weaves together a circle, I’ve just got to believe that the saints are singing too. 

We hear so much about God’s kingdom these days, who is in and who is out.  Who belongs and who still has some changes to make, some work to do...

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