ReligionJune 26, 2024
Discover the unsung heroes who light up our lives with hope and inspiration. From everyday encounters to fleeting moments, these individuals transform our stories and remind us of the beauty in the mundane.
Rod Parchman
Rod Parchman
Rod Parchman

Now and again, like gifts from above, they drop into our lives. Just because. Sprites who glimmer from another light with a knee up to catch hold of what it might be to wonder again, lighting the candle in our eyes so we can reconsider the despair. A sparkle, spanning the spectrum from dungeon to deliverance, a double-dog dare to take a chance, or just take a deep breath. I’m talking those who inspire.

Pay attention. Forenoon, afternoon or night, they jimmy the lock like thieves, making themselves at home in our story, presuming to host, adjusting the ambiance and color scheme, improving the décor, a more livable space. They pull back the curtains on our darker rooms, expelling gremlins, real and imagined. They tug at our hand, into the light, and it's OK.

What luck when they show up! Like shooting stars or pops of insight while we make a wish, take notes, or take a picture so as to remember. Identifying with our world and transcending, conveyers of hope, especially when reality is a brute. With a knack for finding tender spots, they can say the right thing without saying anything, like they know where you stashed your dreams, and if you coddle your pain.

Their discernment and liberality arrest our vigilance. Their devotion to excellence, creativity, and the fire of their want-to rise above the mundane. Their capacity for endurance endears them to us, their humility in triumph, graciousness when they fail, persistent mustard seed faith and scars. They show us how to grieve deep and now, and how to cut a rug and celebrate big.

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Coming in hot, some linger, burning their brand on us. Others comet the sky but moments, if for no other reason than to delight, no utilitarian use except beauty for its own sake, just because, an echo of the divine. Whispers of how things were, could be, should be, how things one day will be again. In contrast to vitriolic wildfires set about, these provide a controlled burn for repair, welding the fissures of heart and broken stories. Do we deserve them? Never mind that. Say “Yes!” to the gift.

I am thankful for them: parents, grandparents and preachers; Uber drivers, nail drivers, weirdo artists and awkward lovable misfits; old friends and sometimes strangers cut and pasted into moments needed most; innocent children and grouchy old sages, savvy to the ways of the world; youthful idealists, gray-haired cynics, baristas and geeks; insecure scholars, thin-skinned academic theologians and the uncredentialed; imperfect prophets, perhaps with merely a song or a story that reads your mail; a calm in the chaos, a salve, a second wind when the race is long; a kick in the backside when we’re giving up; extra pocket money for the ride.

Who knows when, where or why, but I’m grateful when they come.

ROD PARCHMAN is a minister in Cunningham, Tennessee, with ties to Bollinger County.

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