Another wet day on the roads. As I strolled down the hill on Vantage Point to the Little Patuxent Corner, I walked alongside a man who works at Vantage House. This is about the third time that my timing has coincided with his as he makes his way after his shift. We chatted this time, with me memtioning that I am the pastor of the church up the road before he headed for the bus stop.
Toward the end of my time around 4:15 p.m., a open motorized vehicle with two cops pulled up out of the trail to Kittamaqundi Lake.
Cop 1: What, you out spreading holiday cheer?
Me: Yeah, just trying to offer a bit of joy. I am the Pastor from up the block.
Cop 2: Oh yeah, that church up there that has weddings and events.
Me: That’s the one in the stone carriage house. I’m still pretty new to the area and I am learning the rhythm and the block.
Cop 2: Where you from?
Me: Memphis. I’ve been inspired by a man there who waved on the corner with his dog for 17 years!…I won’t be making it that long. Things have been going okay. Today only two middle fingers so far.
Cop 2: That’s doing better than us!
Me: In one car today, the driver was waving while the passenger was giving me the finger! But, I guess it’s a good rate. Almost two weeks and 50 waves at least a day. Only two fingers.
Cop 2: Yep, better than we do!
I was aware as we we were talking of my heightened sense of what comes with being out and occupying a corner. I think of those who wouldn’t necessarily feel as secure standing where I am because of their age, abledness, race, status, gender, orientation, or economic situation. As I often do, I think of the privilege of what it means to stand there as a white woman. I consider the freedom and space to explore such spiritual practices and to try this unusual brand of community engagement.
The Spirit continues to surprise me. I brought my balloon home as I do each day for my kids. After dinner, my daughter wanted to share a little violin concert in the living room. I was delighted to see that she had tied the balloon to her violin. It moved as she did…struggling at times to hit the “Jolly Old St. Nick” notes, at times moving smoothly. Her delight brought me delight. I thought of the ups and downs of the corner. Of the joy that comes in the start and stopping of all who pass.
This particular balloon had quite a job today in symphony with the sounds of the street and the strummings of a little girl. The same girl who had first inspired my balloon waving when we walked balloons home from the church this past summer. A part of what I do is wrapped up in being a mom. Oh, how I want there to be visible signs of joy in my children’s community. I give thanks again for all of the children who wave, many of whom today rolled down their windows giggling.
Yes, it is a privilege to stand where I do. From my vantage point I spy all the beloved zooming by. Children and those who once were children making their way on another busy day.
Pastor | Kittamaqundi Community Church | Columbia, Maryland