I knew the globe was weathered. I found it at Goodwill, after all. I loved the blue of the ocean, the way the North American mountains were raised, how time zones divided it all, and the grade-school memories that it conjured up. The globe fit squarely on the corner of my vintage desk.
I often found myself mindlessly turning the world in circles, daydreaming.
And one day the equator fell off.
It happened like this:
A month or so ago I noticed a slight loosening of the thin strip around the middle and over the next few days the whole thing came undone and the plastic just completely lost its place.
I held the strand and wrapped it around my finger.
It made me sad and grief welled up in my heart like everything was wrong. I left the strip curled up there on the desk, determined to patch it up. I thought I might super-glue the sucker back on.
I wasn’t sure just how, but I was determined to make it right again.
The next day, determined, I sat at the desk to write and I looked for the equator. It wasn’t on the desk, not on my chair, not even clinging to the lamp behind me. It was nowhere to be found. I asked my teenage children and I even looked accusingly at my cat, perplexed.
WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO MY EQUATOR?
With no answers offered, I found myself, a grown woman, looping and pacing the entire downstairs asking the ridiculous question over and over: “Who threw away the equator?”
After 15 minutes of antics, I found it, curled up in the kitchen trash can amid the junk mail.
No one claimed knowledge of how it had ended up there.
But no matter, it was found.
I pressed the plastic back onto the globe and I left the end of it dangling there, trailing.
The world with a loose end.
It made me sad again. The whole debacle reminded me that ALL of it can be lost. It reminded me of all of the prayer requests that were currently circling in my Facebook feed, comments stacking. The trailing strand interrupted my heart with the reminder of the diagnosis that had been dealt, the funeral that was being planned, the dream that required a laying-down, and the job search that was echoing failure to my friend. Water was still rising in Texas and a hurricane is threatening our eastern coastline, striking panic.
There is a gas shortage and empty shelves in grocery stores.
Because sometimes the middle falls off and we find ourselves running like a headless chicken begging those around us ~ have you seen the equator? Do you know where my center is?
We feel helpless and hopeless in the face of local, national, international news. We don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel or even a small glimmer of hope for issues big and small. We circle scenarios in our head and come up confused.
All this spinning leaves us spent.
I was also reminded of something else:
Sometimes we want to tack equators back on for others, but we just can’t.
Often there is a watching, and a waiting for a sign of hope with someone we love.
A time of witnessing their search and their attempt to press the middle back onto the world. A time of sitting and being right next to the pain of the trailing loss.
With no answers. With no tape, no superglue, and no solution.
Only our presence, our showing up.
Just the offering of graceful, praying presence.
And the deep knowledge that all the equators we think wrap around this globe?
They are all already placed around the base of the cross.
Praying for those in the path of Hurricane Irma, the fires out west, and those beginning the long recovery from Hurricane Harvey today. Elsewhere there are landslides, earthquakes, and violence. God, please remind us to show up: to open our doors, our hearts, our wallets, and mostly our eyes to how we can be the hands and feet of Jesus in the storms.