As I went to grab a paper towel I noticed that amidst the colorful butterflies, there were words of wisdom. I smiled as I read: “A good laugh is sunshine in a home.” I thought aww, that’s sweet. And it’s true. I thought of times when I laughed so seldom that when I heard myself laugh, it shocked me. I remembered the release of laughter as God poured His blessings on me. Yes, the paper towel sage spoke truth.
I looked to see the next phrase. “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” Wow, that’s profound isn’t it? I thought for a few minutes about hope. I still need more hope in my life. It seemed the wisdom of the paper towel was going to be nudging from God.
As I pondered the paper towel wisdom, I started to church. As I took the turn in Kingston Springs, I soon came to Craggie Hope. Yes, Craggie Hope. Like many places on the winding roads of Tennessee, it has a sign announcing your entrance. I wondered how Craggie Hope got its name. A crag, that’s a crossword puzzle word – it means: a steep or rugged cliff or rock face. I thought yes, hope is like that. Sometimes to maintain hope you have to climb steep and rugged cliffs. Hope doesn’t come easy. Hope, in the midst of darkness and hard times, is a steep climb.
Soon I passed the quaint town of White Bluff. It was sleepy on a Sunday morning except for the church parking lot and the McDonald’s. By afternoon, Carl’s Perfect Pig would be the hottest spot in town. I continued on to church. My mind still wondering if God was finished with His words of wisdom from the paper towel.
He wasn’t. It has been a long time, too long of a time, since I’ve been in a church where it seems God’s eye is only on you. And yet, you know that’s not true. Yet, every word, every song, every smile, every prayer seems to be focused on you and your thoughts. God was speaking hope. I needed so much to hear about hope. I needed to be reminded that no matter what situation I find myself in, He is worthy to be praised.
As I sat there wondering where I belong? I thought of my dream. I had tossed and turned all night with an odd dream. The dream told me to go home. I saw my pastor in Connecticut and good friends. I heard in the dream that people love me and have been missing me – I struggled to remember the route to the church. I woke up only to be disappointed that we were not in Connecticut again. I thought what does this mean? It may mean nothing. But it gave me pause.
The service was so familiar. The service was long, but it was long because they took the time to love on people through prayer. There were tears as friends gathered around those moving away. The pastor spoke of his love for these people. At the end, a son brought his father and brother with him to the altar to commit their lives to Christ. Loving people and building relationship just takes time. It is time well spent.
Maybe I was home. I don’t know. I do know that I heard love. I do know I heard God. I do know God knew I was there and spoke to me in the words of the service. I heard a prayer from the pastor that revealed his heart. In hearing it, I heard my own heart. He prayed: “Lord, there are those who turn their back on pain, may we never do that here.” I want a place that’s real. I want a place where it is okay to admit the reality of your pain. I want a place where pain can be absorbed by love. That’s a prescription for hope.
Today I looked at the roll of paper towels, a new piece of wisdom was exposed. It said: “There’s a whole lot to be thankful for if you take the time to look.” I’m going to follow the wisdom of the paper towels. I’m going to laugh more and bring sunshine into my life. I’m going to have hope for the future and cultivate thankfulness.