I’m not sure, but I think age has something to with nostalgia. I felt it instantly and the tears began to well at church when we were singing This is my Father’s World. I was instantly brought back in time to a Daily Vacation Bible school; it was our theme song for the week. We sang it every day and the verses come back so easily without even having to gaze at the words on the giant screen. I am transported back to love, to community…to JOY.
This is my Father’s world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their maker’s praise.
I am rereading a book that I loved so much at the beginning of new year flying home from Ecuador. I’m sure many have read The Language of Flowers, a debut novel written by the amazing Vanessa Diffenbaugh. This novel goes back and forth in time, telling Victoria’s story. She is an emancipated foster youth negotiating homelessness and making her way in our harsh society. At the beginning of this book Victoria is leaving her last group home. The girls in the house maliciously try to burn her room with matches as a birthday prank. There is little love between them. But before she leaves she retaliated in a different way putting a purple Dahlia under each doorway. As the reader learns early in the context of the book, each flower has a meaning. Flowers have a language; a ‘Dahlia’ means ‘dignity’. Victoria gives dignity to the girls remaining in the group home.
Victoria’s story is realistic as it is amazing. It isn’t perfect because life rarely is. But it is a story of rescue and hope and the importance of community. The story is truthful in the ways of our very broken foster system. As many of you know we, took our daughter into our home late in her high school career. She was an emancipated minor, so this story ripped my soul in two. Our daughter is now a healthy adult who finished college and is living and working near us in the city of Chicago. I have learned over the years, but one thing is for certain; Kelly needed us. This young girl would not have bloomed without our intervention. God knew that our hearts needed to become softer, more alive because of her. If you haven’t read this book yet, I definitely think that you should. You will be enthralled with the characters; I promise.
Many of us in this ‘slicing’ community have started or will start school shortly. We will begin to recognize that our communities are filled with flowers that are strong and healthy and others that are limp and in need of a cold drink of water. We will attempt to shower them daily and teach how to love and give ‘dignity’ to each other. May we notice… may we care. This is the true common core curriculum.
This is a new flower bed in our yard this year, it is a primarily a ‘Dahlia’ bed. Notice how brilliant the colors are. Notice how they all bloom at different times. I notice how sometimes one flower will indeed hold up another.
I am also noticing lately, that our season with the children in our classroom is also short. I better start watering.