Sometimes, you bump into an angel in a parking lot.  This morning, I swung into Starbucks to get some coffee ground. I didn’t even grab a drink, just get in, get the coffee ground, get out, get going.  It’s Monday and I was already running a bit late.  Come on Damico, get going!

I got into St. Arbucks, got the goods taken care of and was walking out and a gentleman was right in front of me also walking out.  He kind of held the door as I walked through, I said thank you.  He looked at me and said, “Oh, you’re welcome! Have a great day!” I always appreciate sentiments like that as sometimes you feel like you are one of the few people who genuinely wish that sentiment to others, so I responded with a, “hey, you too!” He looked at me, with some kind of gleam in his eye, and said “I will! It’s going to be a great day! We’re vertical, man!” I responded with a hearty, “Amen!”

As I got in the car, I started thinking, ‘man- we are vertical. We’re alive. How great is that?!’

I have been binging some Daredevil on Netflix, and there are a lot of themes of redemption and justice and value of life in the story.  It’s dark. It’s gritty. It’s pretty violent. It probably doesn’t have a ton of emotional “value” compared to the books I typically read in that space in the evenings but, there is a message there.  A deeper message. Hope.

We are vertical.

We are alive.  What are you/I/we going to do with that, today, in this moment.

Right now.

Seeing images of terror, anger, hostility, and fear on the news, on the feed, in our neighborhoods, in our communities- it doesn’t often leave us feeling hopeful.I think it’s psychologically natural or human nature to just start to retreat, lay low, get upset. But, there is hope.  There is always hope. Because we are called to a different nature. Because we are vertical.  We are the best option for goodness. For grace. For love. For joy. It’s why we are here.  It’s why we celebrated resurrection Sunday yesterday- there is a better way, a completed way, a finished way to live in and to live to.  When you live in that light, the light of heaven, that you are the light of the world because of that light, (Mt 5:13-16) all of that awful stuff, it simply does not win.  It never wins, even when it thinks it does.

As long as we are vertical, that hope exists. Of course, we have to be walking out of Starbucks on Monday morning and be willing to state publicly to a stranger, “It’s going to be good- We are vertical!” Or walking into our office.  Or the waiting room at the doctor’s. Or while we search for a job.  Or even when we are feeling our most loneliest. When we begin to speak that into our life, surroundings, interactions- things will change.  When we begin to grasp the greater purpose of our placement in this moment in time, things will begin to shift.  Not immediately, or even quickly.  It’s not even easy or fun all the time- it’s hard work!- but it is worth it.

We are vertical.

Today I am grateful for chance encounters with angels in the Starbucks parking lot.

May we be those chance encounters to others and may we live with the knowledge that we are vertical, we are here for a purpose, and that hope is in us.

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(For more goodness, just go read Matthew 5, in the message version if you want.  Here’s Jesus giving the goods of life to normal, everyday people.)

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