The Corner Where You Live

My wife and I were driving back from visiting a youth conference this week, when a slogan on the side of a passing tractor trailer truck caught my eye: “At the Corner of Happy and Healthy.”

I thought, “What a great place that would be… the corner of Happy and Healthy.” And I realized — by the grace of God, there is much happiness and health that converge in my life. If asked my address, I could and should answer with sincerity, “I live at the corner of happy and healthy!”

Can you imagine folks’ reactions if you gave that as your address — the corner of happy and healthy? Delight or skepticism or resentment perhaps.

Truthfully, however, I sometimes focus on other factors in my life, not all happy or healthy. Most of us have a tendency, at times, to make our problems and pathologies the locus of our identities. We might glumly admit, “I am living at the corner of Sick and Tired OR Dazed and Confused OR Anxious and Stressed OR Scared and Lonely.”

We know that we all encounter and cope with manifold factors. favorable and unfavorable, in our lives, but the street corner metaphor could be helpful for spiritual reckoning and orientation on occasion. What are the signs at the corner where you live?

corner

I recently read an article that referenced Appreciative Inquiry, the theory and practice of intentionally focusing on strengths. The Appreciative Inquiry process involves uncovering and taking account of existing positive factors that enhance one’s life and our life together.

This approach is a more detailed version of the old hymn, “Count Your Blessings.”

Where do you live? What experiences, factors, spiritual “vectors”, are converging in your life? Have you missed the signs of blessing and hope that mark where you are?

abundant

Small Hinges

hinge

“History turns on small hinges.”

That quote is attributed to Steve Haymer, the beloved President of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, who is recently deceased after battling pancreatic cancer.

I have been pondering Steve’s statement recently, given the scope of events in my corner of the world — in our state and nation — South Carolina and the United States.

“History turns on small hinges.”

Major events, heart-breaking, historic, and hopeful, are unfolding all around us — the Mother Church of Charleston gives their witness in the aftermath of tragedy, the President stands to teach and preach, politicians and citizens are reversing course, the Supreme Court is directly addressing divisive issues, there is a recent surge in marriage applications and celebrations, emotions are heightened, churches are burning, people are praying, and some folks are trying to listen anew to one another. And more.

This history-making summer has hinged on the words and deeds of numerous individuals, institutions, congregations, and communities. Fulfilling the promise and further healing of recent events hinges, in South Carolina and throughout our nation and world, on each of us.

In our small corners of the world, turning points await every day. What will we say and do going forward? Will we turn the corner? History turns on small hinges.