the fourth

I look through the glass of someone else’s car window while hearing complaints regarding the poorly paved roads and accusations of who got into their car to break a thermostat knob.

Leprechauns? No.

Those devilish teenagers? Probably. More than likely. Or so you think.

Instead of giving it attention (or an eyeroll), I choose to notice the bright green trees and tune it all out.  

Internal whispers, like a fluorescent car warning light, calls me to attention - be grateful, be grateful, be grateful. Be grateful I’m going home. Be grateful for grilled food. Be grateful I’m going home. Be grateful for an air conditioned car. Be grateful I’m going home.

I think back on overheard conversations and statements.

“What church do you go to?”

Why does it even fucking matter?! Whether we bow to saint, sinner, angel, demon, or nothing at all - does it matter?!

Instagram, bring me some joyful disruption.

Hold on.

This conversation of random leadership/office mumbo jumbo talk right next to me is just amplifying the contrast of unhealthy office politics I’m walking into tomorrow. Sigh. 

Must. keep. scrolling.

Oh wait. Is that rain I hear?! It’s raining. My favorite. Let’s walk away from this and go Story the good shit. 

That rain is lovely in how it lands, smells, and feels. But now I’m starving. And yes, probably in more ways than one. The glory of grilled food seems so far. 12pm. 1pm. 2pm - the hours float away while food is in the works.

Oh there you are. Time to get in line, grab a plate, and dive in.

Wait. I forgot. We need to pause.

The prayer must be heard and reverenced by all.

Circle up everyone.

The prayer pulled from a master file to repeat each holiday is ready to roll. Thankful for the fellowship. Check. Thankful for the food. Check. Thankful for the people who have died for our country. Check. Thankful for everyone’s sacrifice. Check. Check. Check.

We achieved not slighting God’s glory (or America's) with our gathering over grilled chicken on plates of red, white, and blue.

Pass the barbecue sauce, please. I just might need to drown in it since alcohol is off the table due to its "sinful" qualities.

Perhaps I should’ve brought some "sauce" in my bag - like Beyonce.

 Sigh. I’m exhausted of these gatherings.

 Am I exhausted or depressed?

 Obligation. That is what today was.

And I swore no more obligation in my life. But here I am. Why does the line of respect and obligation seem so blurred these days?

Joy, I can’t hear you today. Freedom, I’m not feeling you either. But I know you both are there. You are not lost or gone forever. I just have to choose the truth of you and believe.

I look through the glass of someone else’s car window and I see home.

Even with its broken dryer and broken air conditioner, this exhausted heart is eager for its comfort.

“Riffs & Rambles” is a collection of messy words and sermons unedited. Whether it’s 3am or 3pm, soundbites hit regardless of the desire for sleep or the screaming to-do list from the office.