Day 5 – “TOUCH”

Day 5 – “TOUCH”

During the month of April, I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days: Thoughts from Six Feet Away, one topic per day. Find out why here.

“TOUCH”

There is a power in the human touch.

 

It crosses racial and cultural lines.

It transcends social status.

It is intentional.

It moves us.

 

Our need for touch

One the hardest things about our current isolation and social distancing and sheltering is the lack of that touch.

What we used to take for granted has become a need that is welling up inside us.

We were meant for not only human connection but also for physical connection.

A hug. A handshake. A hand held. A gentle touch. A fist bump. An embrace. An arm around a shoulder.

Each speaks volumes without any need for words.

Each conveys a message of value, love, acceptance, belonging.

 

The leper’s need

One of my favorite stories in the Bible takes place in the book of Matthew, chapter 8.

It is the story of Jesus healing a leper.

I’ve always loved this story, but recently have found it even more powerful.

Back in Jesus’ time, if someone had leprosy (a skin disease), they were considered unclean and had to live away from everyone else.

For them, not only did leprosy mean a life of isolation but also a life without physical connection.

As the story goes, as Jesus was on his way a leper came across his path.

When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him.  A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.”

-Matthew 8:1-3

As often happens in the Bible, a lot takes place in only a few short sentences and it can be easy to miss it.

This man was well aware of Jesus’ power to heal. Word had gotten around.

Who knows how long he had lived in isolation. Years? Decades?

In a desperate act, he bucks cultural rules and presents himself before the Healer, acknowledging both his own need and Jesus’ ability to meet that need.

This man, no doubt, wanted to be healed of his skin disease.

But he also wanted something deeper.

Touch.

 

Jesus’ answer

And Jesus gives him both. He could have healed him from a distance, as he had done before for others.

But there was something so powerful about the fact that he touched him… and then healed him.

His touch told him “I know”, “I love”, “you matter”, “you belong”… “be clean”

I can’t imagine what that had to have been like, but I believe this clip from The Chosen does an excellent job of conveying it.

 

Jesus’ offer to us

Maybe you are feeling the isolation weighing down on you.

Maybe you are longing for that human touch.

Might I offer that you may be seeking something deeper today.

A touch from Jesus.

A touch from One who understands ever fear you have right at this moment.

A touch from One who wants to walk through the uncertainty with you, though He is not taken by surprise by it.

A touch from One who wants to guide you, provide, heal and restore.

Will you acknowledge your need for Him today?

He’s reaching out his hand…

 

Day 4 – “IMPACT”

Day 4 – “IMPACT”

During the month of April, I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days: Thoughts from Six Feet Away, one topic per day. Find out why here.

“IMPACT”

With all that’s going on, it can feel a little overwhelming. Our lives, our schedules, our jobs, our normalcy is all in flux, on pause, cancelled or postponed.

In the middle of it all, though, comes an opportunity to make an impact.

Those that are broken need healing.

Those that are lost need direction.

Those in despair need hope.

Those in need need provision

Those who are alone need connection.

Those that are stuck need a nudge.

Those who’ve given up need a renewed vision.

 

When the need is overwhelming, it can feel like our contribution is insignificant.

After all, what can we do that will matter?

But like the little leaf that seizes it’s moment to make a lasting impact on a single slab of cement, what we do right now can make a difference in the lives of those around us.

What food could you donate?

What words of encouragement could you offer today?

What connections can you make to help someone’s job search?

Who can you serve?

How could your reach out?

 

Let’s collectively seize this moment, look around us, and make a lasting impact.

 

Day 3 – “GAMES”

Day 3 – “GAMES”

During the month of April, I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days: Thoughts from Six Feet Away, one topic per day. Find out why here.

“GAMES”

Today’s post is a little more lighthearted.

Like most families these last several weeks, you may have suddenly found that you have the following:

  • a lot of time on your hands
  • a lot of family members present
  • no idea how to pass the next four weeks, not to mention today

Fear not! Here are four of our family favorites that we created over the years and have come back to in times just like this.

Feel free to adapt these to your own family and available equipment. Be creative but have fun.

Let’s get started…

 

1. MASOCKEY

What is it: A mix of soccer and hockey using Nerf maces. We created this years ago when our boys were little.

Where is it played: Inside or outside

Equipment needed: A nerf mace, broom or other swingable item. A lightweight ball. Two goals (cones will work).

Object: Score goals by getting the ball through the goal

Rules:

  • You can use your feet to kick the ball or mace to hit the ball but goals can only be scored by hitting the ball with the mace through the goal.
  • If playing in a yard, out of bounds applies.
  • Beginning of game starts as a hockey face-off at center field.
  • After each goal, defending team brings the ball in and opposing team must start behind midfield.

 

 

2. BALLOON VOLLEYBALL

What is it: Like regular volleyball, but with a balloon.

Where is it played: Inside, with furniture dividing sides of the court

Equipment needed: A room, a balloon, and something to divide the room

Object: Score points by hitting balloon on floor of opposing side

Rules:

  • We determine a place to serve from, based on size of room.
  • Three hits per side. Can hit off walls and land on objects.
  • Can use any part of body to hit.
  • If balloon gets stuck, can blow on it to get it moving again.

 

 

FRISBEE GOLF

What is it: Frisbee golf, played around the house or in the neighborhood

Where is it played: Outside (unless you want to use a plastic lid from a can and play inside).

Equipment needed: Frisbee

Object: Get the frisbee to the “hole” in as few throws as possible.

Rules:

  • We usually come up with 3-5 holes.
  • They can be anything from just throwing from the driveway, around a tree and hitting a chair to more detailed.
  • If we play out toward the street, we usually use a spotter to make sure we don’t hit a parked car or other objects.
  • Play at your own discretion based on children’s ages.
  • Example hole from the Washburn course: Throw from fire hydrant, slalom around trees and hit back side of a sign in yard. Par: 4.

 

 

ARMY ARROWS

What is it: Shooting rubber bands across the room (room divided into halves) to knock over all army men set up on other side.

Where is it played: Inside

Equipment needed: Plastic army men or anything else small that can be stood up and knocked over in a room.

Object: Team with last man (or object) standing wins.

Rules:

  • Divide room up in half. Mark halfway line. Additionally mark lines on either side (we use blankets or rope) to indicate how far players on that side can advance toward other side to shoot.
  • Each side places all of their army men (or objects) wherever they want on their side, trying to be strategic and make them as hard to knock down as possible. They can’t be leaning up against anything though.
  • Each side starts with a certain number of rubber bands (can be small, regular ones or the big guys).
  • Once both sides are ready, begin shooting (don’t shoot at people or eyes), trying to knock down opposing side pieces until one side gets the others all knocked over.
Day 2 – “AGAIN”

Day 2 – “AGAIN”

During the month of April, I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days: Thoughts from Six Feet Away, one topic per day. Find out why here.

“Again”

I want to invite you to start using this word more with me in the days to come.

It’s one that has brought me some comfort when I think about things that have been put on pause, lost or destroyed in the midst of our current situation.

There is plenty to talk about concerning the real threat of the virus itself and the lives it is destroying on the health front.

But there is an equal devastation that is happening across the country in the loss of so much of what we had been looking forward to or depending on.

There is a lot that has been lost that will, honestly, never be restored. We’ll talk about that on a coming post.

But today we focus on the things that will return again one day and how we can look ahead.

Some on the surface are certainly more crucial: jobs, security, food, provision.

And though others may seem more trivial in comparison, they amount to an upheaval of what we find comfort in and have looked forward to.

So when something pops into my head that has been lost of postponed or frozen in time, I’ve been trying to think in terms of “again”.

At some point in the future…

  • life will return to normal again (though it will be different)
  • we’ll get to meet in person with our church family again
  • schools will be reopened again
  • birthdays will be celebrated with friends and family again
  • restaurants and small businesses will be able to serve their customers again
  • I’ll get to watch my kids compete in sports again
  • I’ll get to hug my friends again… or hi five or fist bump or…
  • we’ll be able to remember what day it is again
  • family vacations will happen and memories will be made again

 

I don’t know what “agains” you need to focus on, but I hope you’ll begin to add that more into your vocabulary as you struggle with what is missing right now in your life.

Maybe we can all agree to call that day “Againsday”.

Day 1 – “DAD”

Day 1 – “DAD”

I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days, one topic per day. Find out why here.

Today is my dad’s birthday.

Yep, April Fool’s Day. No kidding.

Of all the years of pranks, the best one ever would have been for him to wake up today and realize that this whole last month had been some kind of prank. Some kind of twisted joke being played on the world that had now been revealed.

Maybe, too, that it was 76 degrees outside, sunny and with a slight breeze blowing out of the west, perfect for RC airplane flying. Rarely happens at the beginning of April though.

Unfortunately… instead he’ll be ordering take out and celebrating with my mom and sister at home as they try to steer clear of the virus and party like it’s 2019.

So, while I can’t change any of that, what I can do is help celebrate him by sharing some of my favorite memories with you dad. So, here goes…

Of course, one of my favorites has always been time shared flying together, such as in this post about 5000 feet. Growing up, I can remember heading up to Marion, OH on some Saturday morning with the warm summer air blowing across the field. Riding shotgun with you in the tow plane as we towed up countless sailplane riders and cut them loose and dove back down to grab another. And then getting our chance to fly the sailplane together as well, searching for those thermals, gazing down on the world below as if in slow motion.

 

Whenever I work on home projects, I’m so thankful for all the things you showed me growing up. How to figure things out, use the right tools, not give up. I remember working together fixing a toilet, getting my hands dirty working on the car (even though I used to hate the feel of grease on my hands). Household assembly projects, working in the attic or or wherever. You taught me to be curious and do what I can for myself.

 

I’m thankful for all the hours you spent watching me play sports… badly. Honestly, I was pretty awful. But you sat through all the soccer games, the basketball (briefly), the track meets and more. You were there when I missed the mat (but cleared the bar) in high jump and went home with a concussion. You were there when I tripped over the first hurdle in my regional 300m race, hit the track and then got up to come back and finish strong. You were always there.

 

You were so instrumental in teaching me how to really care about others. I can hear your voice sometimes echo in mine with my own kids. But you challenged me to think more about others than I was about myself. To put myself in their shoes. It always bugged you when I would just be selfish in how I responded to someone or treated someone. And even though, especially as a teen (what is it about those teenagers? :), I often didn’t want to hear it, those words sank in deep and made a difference.

 

You gave me a love for video, writing and creativity. From those stop-action super 8 movies you made of the Fisher Price airport set to the countless projects we worked on together, I know now you were enjoying them as much as I was. And when I write an ode or craft a video or do something creative, I’m thankful for those seeds and encouragement and your vision.

 

You taught me how to work hard and were my partner in lawn mowing and paper routes. One of my favorite snapshots in time is how you’d pick me up at the bottom of the street on my paper route on those cold winter mornings, we’d stop to get doughnuts and then eat them at the top of the next street in the car before I stepped back out into the cold. White frosted raspberry filled is still one of my faves.

 

Finally, I’m thankful for showing me how to be a dad. As I’ve passed through the stages of new dad, dad with young kids, teenagers and now with an… yikes… adult in the house, I’m thankful for what I’ve learned from you in the past 

 

about how to build into my kids, encourage them, and help spur them on to do what God has called them to do.

So thanks dad, for all the ways you’ve built into me and memories you’ve given me to cherish. I look forward to being able to celebrate together when all of this is over. Let’s find a nice open field and a warm summer morning….