the story room

Friday, July 21, 2006

my white chairs and dancing supervisor

I don't like autumn much. I don't know how to explain it, but the smell of the gray air, crisp and beautiful as it is, leaves me feeling unsettled. Maybe I just enjoy summer too much.

Whatever the reason, I noticed that the air smelled like autumn today. I worked outside most of the day, cleaning chairs from the cafeteria. Olfactory memories of fall wafted into my lungs and brain, carried on the cool breeze. And the clouds, heavy with rain, reminded me of the heaviness of people I know and those who are half a world away who mourn and are afraid. I couldn't help but feel heavy, too.

But the strangest thing happened.

The greasy gray chairs I was scrubbing became white when I rinsed them, and as I stepped back to get a look at my work, an unexpected joy overtook me. I tell you, they almost shone. I carried them back into the cafeteria and found my nearly sixty year-old supervisor dancing to a song on the radio, purposely uncoordinated and 'shaking his booty', casting aside his dignity to evoke our laughter. It works every time.

What grace.

Humanity is "born to trouble as the sparks fly upward"; it's true. My white chairs and dancing supervisor didn't make me forget. But in those gifts of work and play I was reminded that God is with us. I could feel it in my chest, in that place where joy so deep it is unspeakable resides.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

beautiful, erin.


21 July, 2006 22:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wish i could have been there with you. i know what you mean about feeling God's presence and joy in the chest. it happened last time i saw you and amanda! ;)


22 July, 2006 10:15  
Blogger Caranne said...

I've felt that too.

Sometimes, when I'm driving alone in my car right before sunset, the sun shines on the clouds, through the trees, and into my car in such a way that my chest tightens and all I can think is, "Thank you for this life, Lord. I'm am so undeserving of your grace."

So anyway, I understand and appreciate your words, Erin Marshalek. : )


23 July, 2006 17:13  
Blogger Erin said...

Thanks, friends.

23 July, 2006 20:44  

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