Solidarity: A Purple Day

The word solidarity came strongly to mind last week as I was applying shades of purple eye shadows to compliment the purple top I wore that day.  I was dressing in purple for a reason. The impetus was admiration for a girl I had never met in person, rather through her mother and others, I feel like I know her. Her name: Victoria.

Though Victoria had no vision to distinguish colors she did understand colors, and particularly the color purple. To Victoria a purple day meant an unusually happy or good day. For her to state, “It’s a Purple Day!” was to express her joy-filled delights.  Last week would have been her 19th earthly Birthday, which she celebrated from Heaven.

purple sunset

So last week, on January 22, 2015, her birthday, I wore purple to celebrate Victoria’s life but also as a show, or type of solidarity. Almost a week out, I keep ruminating on the word. It isn’t the prettiest word, like words that I usually choose to let roll around in my mind just because I like them. But it is a word of importance.

When you read solidarity you may be thinking of a union, a union movement, an ethnic group, or a more radical group of sorts. But I am thinking of it a bit differently from the norm. The common definition:

Solidarity is unity (as of a group or class) that produces or is based on unities of interests, objectives, standards, and sympathies.*

Sometimes hearing the word solidarity makes me think of a closed group. One I may not fit into. One where being on the outside leaves a feeling of exclusion. But I have a different thought. I raise the word for solidarity to be universal and freely lent to others—all may join in.  All can show support for one another!

How many times might we come alongside a person (in person, online, in social media) to say, “Hey, I am here, I am with you in this. I may not get it all, but I am here, none the less!” I tend towards this kind of living the older I get. I am free from wondering if it is okay to raise the solidarity flag. I can stand with those I know well and total strangers, and I can do so without casting a judging eye that says, “No one else is welcome here.”  This is a good and generous way to live—to find or stumble upon those who just need to know someone cares, has their back, has been there before—and that they are not being judged, they are cared about, etc.

Can I start a solidarity movement of this sort? Do you want to join it with me? If you do, I think it will be a Purple Day!

* http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/solidarity, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/solidarity

(My friend, Alisha Charles, mother of Victoria, is writing a book which you will want to read and/or hear her speak about. She also has a website, still not fully built, with the domain name: ItsaPurpleDay.com. You will be hearing more from me in the future about all of this.)

God’s Presence: Emmanuel

Sometimes it’s in spite of life’s circumstances that we most recognize God’s presence.

Emmanuel—God is with us! It’s a rather fantastic thought–one that our finite minds have a hard time wrapping around, It’s just too big to grasp in its fullness.

I am not focused this month on the baby Jesus, rather I am several Christian remembrance dates ahead of myself. I am off the timeline and I  am already after Pentecost! And it is because of one of the names of God: Emmanuel. It super-charges my hope and thinking this month. It makes me shake my head in wonderment. god

As we move into the Christmas season and we recognize the gift of God, as He bowed low to become a babe in human form, our Jesus, that He might identify with us and we with Him, my heart has raced ahead. In the Bible, heart and mind are interchangeable and as I say my heart, I indeed mean my mind and my whole spirit. God with us began with Mary, an angel, the Spirit of the Lord, and Joseph. That is the insertion point of God dwelling with man in an amazing (understatement) way. But I run ahead right now to Emmanuel who came to earth, ascended to Heaven, and then sent His Holy Spirit to live and abide in us, and with us: Emmanuel!

I feel such joy and delight as my heart and mind focus on GOD WITH US! I am never alone and neither are you. And, as limited as I am to console and encourage those who are walking through life and some of the most difficult of circumstances and losses—what do I have to give them? I have Emmanuel: God with us! The comfort, the hope, the encouragement, the strength, and the prayers I pray are not just my own. They are not just my desperate attempts to meet the needs of humanity around me—they instead are derived from Emmanuel!

For those of us who have literally and figuratively lifted our arms wide open to God we can delight in a God that never leaves us—that walks with us in all things and through all things. He will not leave us behind. He will not turn His back on us. He dwells within and as we learn to hear Him and partner with Him we too can be a light to a world.

If you haven’t entered a relationship with Emmanuel I will promise you that the adventure and the wholeness that you will enter into are like none other. Letting God have entrance into our lives is what we were made for—the final piece of the puzzle. The puzzle can’t be completed until His piece is fitted in—that’s the way the puzzle was designed. Nothing compares.

As we enter the literal darkest of seasons, where daylight hours are shortened considerably, things can get gloomy—especially in the Northwest. As joyous as the Christmas season is for the masses it also brings to the forefront losses, complicated family relationships, financial strains, and a lot of pressure. May our hearts and minds focus on Emmanuel and watch Him lead us through this season with a greater amount of grace and strength than we can imagine. And importantly, let’s partner with Emmanuel to bring light into the dark spots of this glorious season and may your joy be full!

Emmanuel. Emmanuel. God is with us, Emmanuel.