Art by Griffin

This has been a year.  Isn’t that right?  Struggle fills so many days: lost jobs, deaths of loved ones, unseen family, a pandemic,  a murder followed by civil unrest in my city of Minneapolis that destroyed my school where I work, and all that chased down by an election season that was the most negative and fear-inducing of my life.

Every time I hear a siren, I feel like my heart stops a little.

And.  Three things.

A leather notebook made its way to me at the peak of the civil unrest, even though our post office was looted and burned down.  This seemed like a miracle, and maybe a sign.  Maybe: Use this notebook to make some kind of difference.

I went to my school after the sprinklers finally turned off and it was cleared of danger.  Several of us, with masked faces came to see if there was anything to salvage.  I stood in my ‘office’ now a pile of waste, broken glass and furniture that people tried to set on fire–burned and scarred.

As I stood there in so much loss, this phrase “rubble gifts” came to mind.

Two things remained that mattered to my heart.

A waterlogged frame full of my twenty-three year old son’s kindergarten drawings was still there.  Dirty looking, buckled, but the six ‘guys’ now with another story of survival.

My red lamp that matched the four others at home.  My hope lights, I guess you’d say, the red light of possibility—bold beauty.  Here it was.  Working even.

Rubble gifts. With so many things stripped away—you can see what remains.  They might be dirty, broken, but there they are.  Yours.

Essential elements of your life.

Stories to tell, people I love, a dog companion, novels looking for their way in the world, all more visible in the dust and debris of loss.  The rubble.

I dusted off my pant legs and stood a little taller than when I entered that school, with my artwork and lamp.

Rubble can show you what matters most in all its imperfection.  In all its holiness.  Take a good look at what is around your feet.  Might be able to dust it off and give it new life.