Just Not My Day

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How often do you feel your day is not going as planned? I’ve felt that way lots of times. There are days when I feel overwhelmed at the altar of the “to-do” list, then beat myself up because I just cannot figure a way to do all I have assigned myself. I have actually gone to bed some nights frustrated and feeling like I wasted an entire day.

I had one of those over-ambitious days recently, and it proved to be invitation into the classroom of the Almighty. I don’t know if anyone else can relate to this but if so, here is the wisdom my Father God shared with me.

In the middle of a particularly stressful day when I just seemed to be hitting brick walls on everything I put my hand to (except of course addressing and diminishing my stash of Girl Scout cookies), I threw my hands in the air in an act of surrender. Convinced I was doomed to terminally fun-less living, I said, “I give up, nothing is working here. The universe is conspiring against me and I am spinning out of control into the failure abyss.”

I decided maybe I should take the problem to God. I wish I could say it was in the form of prayer but it was more in the form of complaint. I tried to read my Bible – no dice – fragmented brain syndrome. I attempted dialogue with God – nothing doing – guilt for what I “should be doing” crept on me like humidity in the Florida Everglades.

In exasperation, I looked up to the ceiling and said, “I am trying so hard Lord but this is just not my day.”

I fell silent long enough to hear Him respond, “No, it is not your day. It is my day, and I have given it to you. I love you and I want you to have the best day possible. So, daughter,  if it is not working for you perhaps it is because you are not allowing me to work through you.”

I sat there for a moment, waiting for this truth to dawn on me and then heard the song and Scripture in my head, “This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (PS 118:24 NLT).

I ran to my computer to look in my music folder. I found the song on a children’s worship CD I use when teaching little ones to praise God in dance. I loaded it up and turned up the volume. Then I began to twirl and swirl in the dance I learned/teach to this catchy, uplifting little tune.

Yes, I admit it. In the middle of my living room, surrounded by the little pieces of paper encouraging me to believe I am a human doing and not a human being, I just danced with, to and for Him.

Boy, howdy, when God wants to teach us something in our heart, He uses our heart to teach. Dance, as you know beloveds, is my heart. So off we went, God leading and me following along to words on a CD recorded by little children singing out their praises to God.

When I sat down, I giggled and I thought, “This must be what you mean by us coming to you as little children. That was great Daddy. Can we do it again?”

And so we did. And while dancing, I figured it out. If I walk into each day asking God what He wants me to do, I will always go to bed feeling like I have accomplished what I was supposed to accomplish. If something does not get done, it was not meant to get done. Ah, what a relief.

Now I don’t mean to tell anyone else how to live. But just give this a try friends. Get out of bed and while you are brushing your teeth, starting the coffee or even just putting on your robe and slippers, look up and say, “This just isn’t my day God. It’s yours.”

Then ask, “What do You have in mind?” Maybe it will be to dance, or do your favorite form of play, and laugh with Him. And you know what?  That’s going to be more than enough. You just might find it is indeed your day after all.

Copyright February 2017
Laura L. Padgett
Lakewood, Colorado

Follow me on Twitter @lauraleepadgett
or check out my first book, “Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and all major online retailers.

See my Publications tab on this website for books I am featured in, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books and Xulon Press, “Letters to America”.

Tune into my radio show, “The Artists Nook,” every first and third Friday of the month at 2 p.m. MT as I talk to artists all over the country about art, creativity and their love of sharing all of that with you at http://www.kuhsdenver.com/

I would love to connect with you on my Author FB page: https://www.facebook.com/LauraLPadgettAuthorSpeakerDancer

Can’t Talk to a Numb Tongue

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I was not sure what I found more oppressive, my fear of the dentist as I sat in the chair for my appointment, or my sense of guilt at the way a disagreement with a friend ended the previous evening. That conversation weighed heavily on my mind. We were talking politics. This friend and I have been on opposite sides of most issues, in most elections, for over thirty years. Still, we have always been open to different points of view and kept civility in our conversations, due in large part to our mutual love for the Lord Jesus Christ. This time we were anything but open and civil.

Our conversation began calmly enough. But before long we began talking over each other, insisting that only one person could be right and ended just this side of exchanging personal potshots. Anyone who has taken a debate class knows an argument is lost when we resort to injuring others because it screams, “My position is weak as water, and the only way I can win is by distracting you with insults.”

Still, passion is passion and it does not always provide an exit ramp when on the highway of self-righteousness. What is worse, the unshakable posture, “I’m right,” will push us full-speed past the line of protecting dignity – ours or another’s. I am sorry to say this is becoming increasingly true in Christian circles too, in my experience.

I was pulled off the guilt meter when my dentist, (a fellow I like very much by the way) came in to deliver that always pleasant shot in the jaw from a needle the size of a fire hose. During the injection I did my usual routine – remembered breathing techniques learned in childbirth classes, tried not to lose control of any bodily functions and prayed really, really hard.

After half my face and tongue felt dead, the hygienist began prep work. This was complicated by my inability to get my tongue out of the way.

I tried complying with her request to pull that pesky organ back. But it simply was not a manageable task. I tried to apologize with words. Again, it was not manageable. I looked up helplessly. The hygienist laughed and said, “I know you are trying, Hon. But it’s hard to talk to a numb tongue.”

I attempted a nod and smile. Instead I sort of just blinked and drooled at her. She patted my hand and together with the dentist we shared the space for two hours until the procedure was completed.

When I returned home, I sat down with my Bible, which I felt I did not have time to read earlier. As directed by my favorite devotional booklet, I turned to the Scripture passage of the day. “But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison,” (James 3:8 ESV).

I realized God was talking directly to me about the previous day’s conflict. It was not what I said but how I said it. I was so bent on being right, I did not realize my words were hurtful. My tongue was untamed because it had become unruly and fueled by ego.

I mused about this, pouted a little and did the familiar three-year-old mental shifting from one foot to the other while pleading, “She started it, God. And besides look how everyone is acting right now. We are just so uptight and steeped in unkindness. What do you expect when we live in this world you gave us?”

I knew in my heart this was not going to fly with the Almighty any more than Adam pointing a finger and saying, “Yeah, well it’s all her fault,” got him off the hook for the Eden eviction. God was very clear that it does not matter how others act, we are responsible for our own actions. His kids are called to act differently, period. If there was a problem with my friend, He would deal with that. It was not my business.

After some time on the pity pot, I climbed into my Father’s lap and asked Him to forgive me. I told him I would call the other party and ask her forgiveness too, when I could manage to get words out without slurring them.

As the injection meds wore off, I was in a considerable amount of pain. The discomfort was not from the dental work sites, but from a bite on my tongue I incurred when I could not feel it. Again the Holy One nudged me.

I sat back in my chair with an ice pack on my mouth and shared a giggle (sort of) with God. “Oh, I see now. When the tongue is numb it causes great pain, to me and to others. That is the poisonous part you talk about in James, right? Okay, I get it, Lord,” I confessed.

The next day I was able to call my friend and offer an apology for my insensitivity. She accepted my amends and offered one of her own. We agreed to be aware of not only what we say but how we say it. We discussed and recommitted ourselves to our belief that we are never called, as believers, to be silent on important issues. We also fall far short of our obligation to govern our democracy if we refuse to learn from others and engage in respectful dialogue because we are more interested in protecting our own rigid stances.

We prayed over the phone and came away reaffirmed that relationships are more important than who is right or wrong. After a great conversation, we agreed to meet for lunch the next week.

I hung up and returned to the same passage in James 3:8, asking God to help me remember this lesson. He assured me that Scripture, when taken to heart, proves to be the best practice for walking this world. God’s Word helps us speak our truth in love, lend our voice to important issues and respect/learn from other voices. But most of all, it provides a solid model for loving by leading our conversations without numb tongues.

Copyright February 2017
Laura L. Padgett
Lakewood, Colorado

Follow me on Twitter @lauraleepadgett
or check out my first book, “Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and all major online retailers.

See my Publications tab on this website for other books I am featured in, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books and Xulon Press, “Letters to America”.

Tune into my radio show, “The Artists Nook,” every first and third Friday of the month at 2 p.m. MT as I talk to artists all over the country about art, creativity and their love of sharing all of that with you at http://www.kuhsdenver.com/

I would love to connect with you on my Author FB page: https://www.facebook.com/LauraLPadgettAuthorSpeakerDancer

Masked

of-silence

Picture by John J. Kyler Photography

The dance was done in a mime costume complete with a white, expressionless mask covering my face. Audience members were dependent upon my movements to tell the story of “The Sound of Silence.” The music had words, but I was depicting someone who felt safer expressing those words only behind a mask.

At the conclusion of the piece I moved backstage, removed the mask, ran my fingers through my hair and said, “Ahh, now that’s better. It’s tough working behind a mask.” Other troupe members nodded in agreement.

There is a variety of conditions that make mask wearing difficult, on or off stage. Peripheral vision is diminished. One can only see what is right in front of them. Obstructed vision limits perception of personal space. That limitation can impair balance and requires the wearer to proceed with great care in order to avoid injury. The amount of energy needed to compensate for these conditions is high. Using energy in this way can quickly lead to exhaustion. Despite the drawbacks, however, masks  can represent/provide something, sometimes, that most (like the little mime) crave – safety.

In the months since that performance, I have become aware of how many times I choose to subject myself to the tiresome endeavor of being in disguise. It is true enough that often I do not present my authentic self for fear of rejection or disapproval. Possibly this is due to lessons I learned as a child, or memories ingrained as I have danced with experience over the past six decades.

As I grow older,  I realize the closer I walk with God, the more I find deep peace in His healing truth that He accepts me just as I am. No mask required. This assurance sustains me when I am unable to extricate myself from situations where I feel I must be silent and safe, regardless of potential cost.

Personally, I prefer never to feel restricted or unbalanced. I do not consciously volunteer for the expense of serious energy-depletion. When I do find myself in those situations, however, I can rely on fellowship with the One who always welcomes me with acceptance and love, without pretenses. This, I think, is part of the peace He promises that passes all human understanding. I look forward to, and am grateful for, the times when I sit down with my Heavenly Father, sigh in relief, remove the mask and say, “Ahh, now that’s better.”

Copyright January 2017
Laura L. Padgett
Lakewood, Colorado

Follow me on Twitter @lauraleepadgett
or check out my first book, “Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and all major online retailers.

See my Publications tab on this website for other books I am featured in, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books and Xulon Press, “Letters to America”.

Tune into my radio show, “The Artists Nook,” every first and third Friday of the month at 2 p.m. MT as I talk to artists all over the country about art, creativity and their love of sharing all of that with you at http://www.kuhsdenver.com/

I would love to connect with you on my Author FB page: https://www.facebook.com/LauraLPadgettAuthorSpeakerDancer

He is here

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“I’m here Lord,” I said through a yawn as I wrapped in a woolen blanket, clutched my cup of hot tea and sat outside on the second-story deck of our mountain condo.

I had awakened a few minutes before 6 a.m. in a mid-September morning. I looked at my husband and envied his ability to sleep. He was determined to get every bit of rest out of this vacation in Silverthorne, Colorado. I managed to find my robe and slippers, leave the bedroom in silence, make a cup of tea, drag a blanket behind me and go out onto the deck to await the sunrise.

I knew God had called me to this space before the day’s activity began. So as best I could, in my stupor-like posture, I tried to obey. The cool mountain air offered temptation to dismiss the inviting voice in my head as an auditory hallucination.

Instead, I stared at the starless sky and waited for dawn’s appearance. Like an expectant, albeit not fully awake, audience member I felt familiar expectation of a spectacular arrival. The black tea kicked my senses into gear and I heard the morning wake-up call of bluejays.

“I’m here, Lord,” I repeated as if He possibly missed the first announcement.

I waited. After several minutes the birds fell silent. In the still quiet, as the caffeine from the tea infused sleepy brain cells, I returned to the worries of recent weeks. So many things to think about. So many changes to my life. I questioned God, not for the first time, and asked Him to  reveal His plans for my life. Again I confessed my confusion and fear silently while I mouthed the words, “I’m here, Lord.”

The light in the eastern sky grew in hues of grey, pink, mauve and orange. The shapes of trees emerged. After waiting a few more minutes, I came to the conclusion that I had gotten my spiritual signals crossed and could do my worrying inside, where it was warmer.

I stood and began to gather my empty tea cup and blanket when I heard it. At first it was almost inaudible. I stayed motionless and listened. There was the sound – a slight whisper of air. It was not a wind exactly, but definitely was more than a breeze.

I checked the Aspen trees, now beginning their morning bath in warming sunshine. I detected no movement. Still, I knew there was air moving-a lulling, softly rhythmic and intermittent presence. I could  feel it, even if the trees did not.

I returned to my seat while repeating the words, “I’m here, Lord.”

In air devoid of sound other than the barely discernible air movement, I heard, “So am I daughter.”

Copyright September, 2016
Laura L. Padgett
Lakewood, Colorado

Follow me on Twitter @lauraleepadgett
or check out my first book, “Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and all major online retailers.

See my Publications tab on this website for other books I am featured in, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books and Xulon Press, “Letters to America”.

I would love to connect with you on my Author FB page: https://www.facebook.com/LauraLPadgettAuthorSpeakerDancer

 

“No” is not an option

 

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Time to sail

The book has been living in my heart and head for at least a year. The collection of short stories includes travel experiences, dancing adventures (both sacred and secular), lessons from grandchildren, healing from painful places that have been with me for years, elf tales (don’t get me started) and unexpected ministry opportunities like my blessed journey as a radio host at KUHS in Denver. So why have I not written it? Every part of my being is screaming, “It’s time to set sail.”

What is keeping me tied to the dock? Good question my friends. Good question.

There are a lot of reasons I suppose. I am so busy. I don’t think I can write another book.  My first one, “Dolores, Like the River,” did very well, has ministered to hundreds of people, and has taken Keith and me all over to meet people and hear their stories of recovery, hope and new life in Christ. Will another book do the same? I doubt it. Besides, I am so busy. I have other ministries to attend to. I am so busy and oh man, I am just so busy.  Picking up the pattern?

The simple answer here is that I have been busy alright. I have been busy saying “No” to God. The Bible is full of stories of people who said “No” to God. Does not really work out well does it?

But in reality the truth is this: I, little Miss fearless, more guts than brains, insatiably curious, can do anything – am afraid. Yes, I publicly confess. I am afraid. There it is and there you have it.

I discovered this just about two weeks ago. Eureka, now I had my answer. So I began to analyze what the fear was all about. That would buy me another month or so of prime procrastination time, I figured.

In our morning time together, I put this before Him and in my wisest posture I set about to discuss the problem with the Wise One. Ah, but God was having none of that. He very clearly told me I am not to spend another minute trying to dissect my fear. I am to acknowledge it, hand it over to Him and let go (actually it was more like, “Let’s go”).

He told me this is not my work – it is His. Then He reminded me that the gifts I have been given are that – gifts. He will use them to His glory. He pointed out that I am busy because I choose to be, thus avoiding this assignment. He gently reminded me of people like Father Abraham, Peter the Apostle and our good friend Jonah who all looked at God and asked, “Ah, can I get back to you on that?”

Eventually through Scripture reading and devotional conversations in my time with the Lord, the light did break through. And I realized that even though I am not like the famous ones in the Bible, their reasoning was very similar to mine. Like them I was suffering lack of faith and was spending way too much time hanging out with the trip-up twins – doubt and fear. I also know I lace a lot of arrogance in the fabric of this truth because what if I fail? That will sure look bad for me.

God says this is His work. He is responsible for the outcome. He will put the words, structure and all the mechanical pieces into place. He will complete this work. I am to show up and use the gifts and resources He has given me. That’s it. That’s all. God does not fail.

Still not knowing if this was my idea or His, I decided to test the waters. I sat down with my husband, explained my idea, and then shyly asked if it would be okay if I did the book writing thing again. Please remember folks, this really takes a team effort to do something like this and the family absorbs sacrifices on many levels. His answer? “Thought you would never ask. How can I be of help?”

I ran the idea by several of my trusted author friends and asked for honest input. One of my friends put it in the best words so far, “Wow, that is really cool.” I love that response, don’t you? He said it with such enthusiasm, it made me smile all over.

I called an editor, met for a meal and laid the project out along with a potential timeline. She said, “Yes, and yes.”

I approached four beta readers, asked if they would read the work after the editor has finished and give feedback. Not one refused. In fact they were all tickled to be part of this process. One had been asking for months when I was going to write another book and did I have something he could start reading.

Finally I went to the publisher who produced “Dolores,” and shared my idea. They were thrilled to work with me again and the woman I talked to said it was an original and valuable idea to help others.

Okay, okay I get it. I get it. It seems to me, especially while in devotional time with our Lord, that no one felt “No” was an option. The team is in place, ready and set to go. That team is headed up by my number one fan, Jesus the Lord. So, here is another question for you. If yes is the answer from all voices, how did I even consider “No” would be in the mix of options. There is not time to figure that out now. I must be about getting on the ship with the rest of the crew. Anchors are up and we are off.

Because this project will take so much time, I may not be blogging very often. I am so appreciative of my faithful blog readers and I ask for your prayers as we move in this new direction. And please, please, please keep in touch.

So here we go with many things ahead, new seas to navigate and lots of hard work. We’re not really sure what is before us. But we definitely know that the word “No” is behind us and back in port.

Connect with me on Twitter @lauraleepadgett or
My Facebook Author Page at https://www.facebook.com/LauraLPadgettAuthorSpeakerDancer?ref=bookmarks

Check out my “Publications” tab on this website to learn about more of my published works.

Keep up with me under the “Upcoming Events” tab to see where I will be  speaking, signing books and especially to find information about my guests and upcoming shows on http://www.kuhsdenver.com

 

Silver and Gold

goldSunlight streamed through the holes in the tent roof. It bathed the gold medal I held, making it appear almost liquid in my sweating palm. I earned the medal for performing the hornpipe, a difficult solo step, at an Irish Step Dance competition. The sun rays warmed my body on that cold September day in Estes Park, Colorado. There was no need, however, of an external heating source for my soul. The happiness and pride I felt at this accomplishment flowed from my heart to the corners of my mouth and produced a grin that easily could have been on the face of a small child unwrapping Christmas presents.

I wanted to enjoy the moment. I wanted to remember it forever. I also was determined to never forget what it took to get there and the odds against a fifty-year-old woman taking this trophy. Even though I was delighted, I could not help replaying the unkind words and laughter some of my friends delivered when I told them of my dream, several years earlier, to learn this art form. Their words initially stung. Once I judged their opinions invalid, I assigned their voices to a category of challenge. I was determined to meet and overcome that challenge. It was as if they had thrown down a gauntlet. I chose to pick up that gauntlet and run, actually dance, with it.

When I discovered my passion for Irish Dance, in my mid-forties, I sought out resources for learning everything I could about it. I took classes, practiced every day, paid for private lessons from a personal coach, went to workshops, and listened to music for competitions and shows constantly. Frankly, I never liked competitions. But, they forced me to practice and elevate technical merit. Over the years, I accumulated a few silver and bronze medals. And that day, I held the gold.

For the most part, medals were a source of pride; they validated the hard work. But on this particular occasion, winning a medal provided an avenue for learning a valuable lesson about art and heart.

At the end of the competition, while I stood in the dancer tent admiring my medal, a pair of Irish dance shoes went flying past my head. The shoes were not intentionally aimed in my direction. But the words of an angry fellow competitor were.

“You have no right to that medal, Padgett. You are way too old to be dancing, competing or even thinking about performing an art this demanding and athletic. Even if you were of an appropriate age to enter this level of competition, I should have won. I am so much better at technique, timing, and all around dancing than you will ever be,” she yelled before exiting the tent.

I did not know what to say. I felt all the words of those who did not believe in or support my little dream were resurrected and flung at me through an invisible, high-powered sound system. While trying to regain my emotional balance, in the face of the insult, I felt a hand rest gently on my shoulder. An unfamiliar voice asked, “Do you believe her?”

I turned to face the judge who moments ago had awarded me the gold.

“Yes ma’am. She has better technique and sense of musical timing.  She is just all around better than me,” I admitted.

“No, she isn’t,” the adjudicator told me. “Do you know the difference between the silver and gold?  Do you know why you were awarded this medal today?” she asked.

I dropped my gaze from hers and shook my head.

She lifted my chin, looked into my teary eyes and said, “You reflected hours of practice and honing of your craft, just like many others. You managed to keep the beat and execute a difficult step, like many others. Your posture was straight, and you demonstrated ability to remember the intricacies required. You were up against some tough competition out there today, and you gave a flawless performance. From a judge’s point of view, it can be difficult to select one dancer over another when awarding medals.

“But, if mechanics and technical merit are equal, the decision will fall to the one who dances her heart. Some do the dance; others are the dance. Today, you were the dance. And that, my friend, is gold.”

That was my last Irish Dance competition, not because I feared decapitation as the result of airborne footwear. It was because the calendar does not lie. My years of hard, competitive Irish dancing were over. I entered the contest carrying that reality before me.

I am not prone to melancholy over things out of my control – like the passage of time that brings aging of body and mind. And I honestly cannot say I spend a lot of time looking at dance medals accumulated over the years. Truthfully, there are not many uses for my little treasures beyond evoking smiles from a face that carries wrinkles fashioned by determination.

Nonetheless, the medals do come in handy once in a while. For example when someone tells me they cannot realize a dream because of age, perceived inabilities or opinions of critics, I extend this invitation, “Would you come to my house for tea, please? I want to show you something.”

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Connect with me on Twitter @lauraleepadgett or
My Facebook Author Page at https://www.facebook.com/LauraLPadgettAuthorSpeakerDancer?ref=bookmarks

We Came to Play

Bring on those smiles

Bring on those smiles

The flatbed truck was lined with hay bales for riders (including several of my friends and I) to sit or stand upon so we could greet crowds lining the downtown streets of Golden, Colorado. The vehicle crawled along Main Street as part of a celebratory parade announcing the arrival of the Christmas Season. The truck occasionally stopped and allowed photo ops for, and with, the gathered spectators.

This is a lively event that thousands of people look forward to every year at the beginning of December. It is full of music, food, and entertainment. I unashamedly admit I love being part of the excitement. It may seem odd to some but you see, my friends and I – well, we’re elves. Yes, you read it correctly – elves.

The elf troupe has been blessed to be part of the holiday celebrations in Golden and the surrounding area for over five years. Our job description is varied but primarily consists of playing with the crowd, waving from floats, taking pictures with willing kids and their family members, as well as spreading all around playful cheerfulness.

We have been at the center of these crowds on many occasions. And for the most part, I am at home in the performance arena while hanging out with thousands of strangers. But this year was different. Our country had broken out in an epidemic of violent attacks on innocent citizens, mostly in crowds of some sort. The nightly news was littered with stories, one after another, of shooters walking into crowds or buildings to deliver death and destruction.

To say I was a little nervous on that elevated flatbed would be like Noah coming off the arc and calling his experience the result of a minor rain shower. I did not want to alarm my elf mates and so kept up the smiles and waving while I diligently watched the crowd for any possible perceived threat. More than once I breathed a sigh of relief upon spying a uniformed law enforcement person.

In all my years as an elf, I could not remember feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable ushering in sights and sounds of a season typically associated with cheer and good will. I found myself wondering why I had gathered my friends and neighbors, dressed them in these crazy outfits, and marched them into what could be considered harm’s way. I suppose I was mentally bringing my pointy-shod feet up to my velvet-clad backside and delivering a good thrashing for being so careless with the safety of others.

To make things worse, I was reminded of the words of a friend who said he no longer felt safe enough in public to visit restaurants with any amount of frequency. He said we are becoming a nation of people afraid to be around strangers and be in strange situations.

I was pulled out of my guilt-ridden musings by a familiar voice in my right ear, barely audible above the noisy crowd. The voice belonged to a lady I have been honored to share the spotlight with in previous Golden Christmas Parades. As she spoke I am sure my face registered surprise – not at her voice, but her words. It was almost as if she read my thoughts.

She said, “You know, this is exactly what we needed today.” Then she went back to waving holiday greetings to the happy onlookers.

I am pretty sure no one else on the truck heard her words, but I know I did. And she was right. We needed to restore our sense of play and joy for ourselves, our families, and our communities.

My attention was momentarily diverted by three of the elves belting out a Christmas carol in their best imitation of Super Bowl halftime entertainment. Their antics were met with laughter and cheers.

I looked at the crowd through a new lens and realized there were thousands of people refusing to be confined and restricted by the threat of terrorism. I saw children and adults gathered to be part of a small-town tradition despite the potential harm others may choose to inflict on them. Now as I gazed on the people gathered below, I released my perceived need to comb the onlookers for uniforms. Instead I soaked in the smiles on upturned, rosy-cheeked faces of my neighbors, young and old. I rested in my appreciation of faces reflecting a quiet rebellion against being held hostage in chains of fear.

I felt my elf heart burst with happiness at being part of their party that day. I was proud to live in a community that chose to collectively resist the oppression of  “what if’s” that can keep us hiding in our basements while handing over our freedom and lives to others.

Then I turned to the lady on my right and said, “Yes ma’am, Mayor. This is exactly what we needed. And today, we came to play.”

Copyright March, 2016
Laura L. Padgett
Lakewood, Colorado

Follow me on Twitter @lauraleepadgett
or check out my first book, “Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and all major online retailers.

See my Publications tab on this website for other books I am featured in, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books.

Would love to connect with you on my Author FB page: https://www.facebook.com/LauraLPadgettAuthorSpeakerDancer