Pass Words

I think we need a password, or let’s make that a pass-sentence.

That way, in case you ever come to my door in an emergency and God and I are busy inside, we could then just shout, Tell us the password! if you really want to snuggle.

And part of the password will be you knowing it is really … a pass-sentence. And here it is in all its glory and truth:

Love kicks the ass of time and space.

Upon hearing that God and I would look at each other bewildered, but with delight. We would be glad someone had reached us … with the golden key on their tongue.

Though just to make sure we heard you right we might say in unison,

Sing it loudly, baby! Cut loose! We need to double check!

And then if you did, a strength and smile might rise inside of you, and right next to my heart you might be for a moment … beaming like an eye that knows.

Don’t forget now: LKTAOTAS.

Maybe even tattoo that somewhere so you will remember.  –Hafiz

This morning, one by one I heard from loved ones who had weathered Hurricane Irma, which hit the entire state of Florida yesterday, after nearly decimating the islands of St. Martin and Barbuda, and parts of The Virgin Islands, and grazing, by comparison, Saint Barthelemy, Antigua, Anguilla, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, and miraculously, Haiti.

To say it was a beast is an understatement; it seemed to go on forever.

Throughout the night I was receiving texts from friends and family. Their words, however incomplete, communicated one thing to me: we are still here.

From my sister-in-law, 10:51 a.m. “I’m going with prayer…”

From a sister-friend, 7:49 p.m., “Only awful. All I got.”

From my brother, 8:48 p.m. “…blinding wind and rain, it is very loud, howling…”

This morning, reports come in of damage to property and lives lost. The price tag to rebuild is staggering. The lives that are no more include a 2-year-old in Barbuda.

At the same time, we begin hearing reports of the extent to which strangers held one another up, people in shelters sharing as if they had lived together forever, and neighbors beginning the daunting clean-up, not drawing lines as to where their own clean-up ended and another’s began.

Trucks are packed and already on the road to restore the ruin to parts of the Sunshine State to which nearly everyone else in the United States has a connection in either people, or memories of retreat, beautiful beaches, and rest.

I do not believe that God sends destructive storms to teach people lessons or to communicate cryptic messages.

I absolutely believe that the millions of ways that people come together during these unnatural disasters is strong evidence of God with us. The connections we make to one another while weathering storms are nothing less than holy.

Last night we went to dinner at a Japanese steakhouse. I sat next to a woman from somewhere in the Middle East, her husband and brother. I apologized for checking my phone during dinner, explaining that I was worried about people I loved in Florida.

She touched my forearm briefly and said, “I know. It’s okay. I am from Syria.”

A pass-sentence of compassion in which love kicked the ass of time and space.

I thought about her this morning while sipping coffee from my favorite mug adorned with the words, Rise and Shine!

And again, as I read my texts that greeted this new day.

Brother, 4:43 a.m.: “We are ok!”

Sister-friend, 10:49 a.m.: “Horrible mess, but we’re good.”

And I hoped my new friend had received at least one such message from those for whom she prays back home.

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