Home > The Slow Grow > Big Chalk is Back!!!

Big Chalk is Back!!!

One of the offices I use throughout the week is Lemonjello’s, a hipster kind of coffeeshop.  They’ve recently gotten new chairs which almost killed their cool vibe, but they maintained their coolness factor somehow.  Anyway, one of the things they have is a coffee table that doubles as a chalkboard.  I don’t know why but sometimes it’s there and other times it’s not.  Go figure.  It would be very unhip of me to ask why, so I just act like I’m in on the reasoning and that makes me apathetically cool.

I have gone on Tuesday or Wednesday mornings to meet with our worship leader, Adam, a Hope college student (he has a lip ring – totally fits in at Lemonjello’s).  He’s my ticket in.  So, I’m sitting at a table for two beneath some avante gard piece of art which is totally inappropriate in most churches, and in comes a dad and his little girl.  I’ve seen them there multiple times.  He reads the paper while she draws on the chalkboard and mangles a blueberry muffin. 

“Big chalk is back! Big chalk is back, daddy!  Big chalk, yay!”  She’s obviously elated and due to her age she is allowed this indiscrete emotive expression which would not be allowed in such a cool place by an adult (or what passes as an adult at times).  As she dances with huge pieces of chalk in hand, I look at her dad who gets a bye on coolness by bringing a cute little girl to a coffee shop.  He explains to me that they’ve had the table, but no chalk the last couple visits they’ve made.

The chalkboard is the only thing age appropriate for a 3 year old girl to do at Lemonjello’s (the place is not as family friendly as The Way Cup on 17th).  So, the dad was happy to have chalk available again.  I got to thinking, as I always try to, about how I am like the little girl.  What am I excited about?  What do I miss when it’s gone?  What brings me to dancing?  What do I mourn?  What about me or about God’s family goes beyond cool and enters the authenticity of pure humanity?

It’s Ash Wednesday and I’m reminded of my humanity – both by the little girl who found elation in the simple joy of chalk and a blackboard…and by the ashes on my forehead.  One reminds me of the fresh life and adrenaline-laced possibilities of the coming days and months and years.  The other reminds me that from dust I came and to dust I shall return.  Humanity: born, broken, and bequeathed a gift of these days, this place, this air to share and use.

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