Written on October 4, 2017.
“Young man! Young man!” came a call just behind us as we were making our way from the bookstore to our car. My person, quite near to fifty, though not quite as near as me, didn’t suspect he was the one the voice was beckoning, so we continued towards our car. But once more the voice rang out, “Young man! Young man!” And we turned and saw a woman exiting her car with all the speed she could to catch our attention.
Her years were greater than ours, her skin darker. “Thank you for hearing me” she said. “I need help in the worst way and I wasn’t sure there was anyone left that helps. My mom passed away two hours ago and I need to get to Texas. I’m between paychecks, that’s all it is. Just between paychecks. I just need some help to get where I’m going. Can you help me?”
This was not our first parking lot pursuit. In fact we have had several with the same people, same story on different days. This one rang true in the sweetest, most splendid way. I began to fret, for earlier in the day Pappa invited me to empty my wallet so someone else could be full. Now, I sorted through what I might have to give. As I processed, my person opened his wallet and handed what was inside to the waiting woman with the biggest grin upon his face.
“I would dance right in this parking lot with the Holy Ghost if my knees weren’t made of metal now” she said. “But I’m so grateful. My God is good. So good. He always takes care of me.”
“Our does too!” we exclaimed.
As she turned to go, she said, “Would ya’ll be praying for me as I go? I sure could use the prayer.”
I wanted to dance in the parking lot too as I discovered my cupboard wasn’t bare after all. For what great wealth it is to pray. I asked her name. “Mary is my name” she said.
Mary. Blessed. A name that says to rejoice because there is favor. Because the Lord is with.
I asked if we could pray with her right then. She was to us before the words had fully fallen. Between us actually, arms wrapped around us, clinging as if we were God himself. Her hands grasped those of our girls on either side of us. As we prayed and her eyes spilled, it struck me that we stood, three generations, embraced. Wound and woven in His very presence. He was swift and strong. We were stilled. The years between us and the colors that differenced us blurred and blended until we were blank canvases He could paint upon.
He was swift and strong. We were stilled. The years between us and the colors that differenced us blurred and blended until we were blank canvases He could paint upon.
A pause came after our “amen” and then Mary needed to carry on. We unknowingly followed her to a gas station, where we waved goodbye.
A unique expression of the greatness and grandeur of God comes when we encompass each other just as we are being apprehended, together. When we draw each other into our tug towards Him, time stops and eternity begins. And the frame of THE generation is formed and found.
THE generation is something that has reckoned and resonated within me for longer than I can say. For it has been an invitation to my family for as far as time reaches. An invitation I am set and certain to respond to everyday. It’s been pilgrimage and passage, as sometimes you may not be the first to go, yet you are the first to arrive.
Being part of a family with a covenant of THE generation presented dynamics. For the expression of it came in a most tangible way. The manifestation has been mothers and daughters being pregnant together. Its possible that it traces back farther, but I know of three generations before me. My great grandma and my Mamaw carried at the same time, followed by my Mamaw and my mom, them my mom and my sister. My aunt and sister are exactly one month apart. My brother and my nephew, three months. At times it was a bit confusing having an aunt the same age as your sister. And in later years my crew long struggled to not call their cousin “uncle”.
It really wasn’t that strange to me when my mom and sister were pregnant within the same space of time. Yet there was something that tweaked my view of our covenant towards all out condition. The “something” was that this dynamic seemed to magnify any issues there might be between the carriers to epic proportions and there was no way for those around them to not partake. And I began to see a blessing as a curse.
Fast forward some years, to a point when I needed to know I came from covenant and not the condition I had experienced. In the very spot where I needed to know, He met me with the mystery of what He had sown into our covenant. Along the way, I learned that carrying something at the same time is not the same as carrying something together. And carrying together is once of the greatest blessings there is.
A bit more fast forwarding found me right in the midst of that truth when I became impossibly pregnant. Not only was I pregnant with Axel, but the due date was October 7, Gma’s birthday. Though it was only a slight span, our oldest, Axel Pearl and I got to be pregnant together (twice on my end of things), it was pretty amazing. No comparison or competition came. Just bags of maternity clothes, text threads and even better, prayers and encouragements made their way right when needed.
Though Axel Pearl and I were physically pregnant together, it wasn’t long before it became apparent that Pappa would draw all our generations to carry together. Each of our kids (and grandies) were amazing in their response to the news that though we were now Pappi and Marmie, we would be Daddy and Momma again. They each chose the stretch instead of the shock, which undid us over and over.
As this story began taking a different turn, they each occupied the only space I had, each in their own way. They weren’t afraid of grief or the tears that squeezed from it. And our trust turned hope brought only awe. Sometimes you only have a little land, but when you occupy it together, it grows.
Sometimes you only have a little land, but when you occupy it together, it grows.
Day by day boundaries and border extended extravagantly. Truth would embrace me in moments I didn’t realize I was near a lie. Faithfulness would slide beside and take my hand, reminding me that she and the Faithful One know what it feels like to have part of you in a place that seems so far away. And a tiny envelope of giant trust would open up and pour out (with a finger pointed just like his marmie) declaring how things truly were.
And I saw. I heard. I understood. That THE generation is more than birth orders coming together. Far more. And it extends beyond bloodlines to bound hearts. For when covenants cascade we stop chasing every breaking wave and begin to dwell right in the middle of parted waters. Together really does stir what is inside until it moves and becomes real.
For when covenants cascade we stop chasing every breaking wave and begin to dwell right in the middle of parted waters.
In Hebrew, the word for generation is ‘dor’ and means “a revolution of time, an age. A habitation or dwelling formed from the Source or Origin.”
THE generation is a dwelling. I know this because I am a tiny part of the great big whole of it. And I am touched by piece and portion of it every day. Through a people who don’t now how to let go for someone else and who are unafraid for one beside to take hold for them.
Dwell draws. Away from factions and fractions. Dwell returns us from the turn away. From the rage and roar that says farther not nearer. Dwell invites us to come together and share ourselves through story and song. It prepares a place for a shouting, screaming world to come and sing. Dwell turns running from each other to dancing and praying as one.
I am beyond blessed to have THE generation tangible and touchable. Hearts the draw and dare surround me and hem me in. And now everything feels vast, not void, like there is something in everything and everywhere.
Storied: Write the story of your hem and hold. THE Generation that surrounds you, draws you near and behold you as dear. And then share it with one of your many.
Let the Light reveal to you any places you may be viewing your people (or a person in it) as a burden instead of blessing and linger there until your heart and hope are reconciled.