May 26th, 2021 by Sara Buffington
I am a nervous talker.
If there is an uncomfortable moment, a dramatic pause, a conversational lull, you can count on me to fill in the gap with chatter.
Once I was given a massage gift card by a relative. During the massage, I was so uncomfortable being touched by a stranger that I talked through the whole experience. 60 minutes of my incessant talking.
It was awkward, not relaxing.
For me, silence is a hostile stranger, not a friend.
So these words slap me on the hand:
"Saying nothing sometimes says the most." -Emily Dickinson
"A fool is known by his speech and a wise man by his silence." -Pythagoras
"The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly-timed pause." - Mark Twain
If I want to love my neighbor by listening to them, I have to let silence do its work.
May 18th, 2021 by Carl Buffington
Barb and I were packing for a few days at a beach. So when we reached the end of the road or destination, we figured a T-shirt, bathing suit, and flip flops was about all we needed. Our dog, Sammy, even less, a water bowl and food bowl. And I packed my newly purchased book, Chess For Dummies.
We, along with several others at New Covenant Church, have been mentoring at Orange County Academy in Bithlo on Thursday mornings. Erik, my 11-year-old mentee, clobbered me in a game of chess this past week. Hence, the beach reading material. (Barb’s brother, Walter, was an honest to goodness for real chess master, and made a living playing Backgammon. I would love to have him as a coach but he’s now with the Lord).
Here’s a sad, but too true story, I’d say parable, from Annie Dillard’s essay, Teaching a Stone to Talk. She tells of the ill-fated Franklin expedition to the Arctic in 1845.
“The odyssey was a turning point in the arctic exploration because of its well-publicized failure. The preparations were more suitable for the Royal Navy officer’s club in England than for the frigid Arctic. The explorers made room on their ships for a large library, a hand-organ, china place settings, cut glass wine goblets, and sterling silver flatware instead of additional coal for their steam engines.
May 11th, 2021 by Lee Grady
In early 2020, two months before I ever heard the word "coronavirus," I stopped at a convenience store near my house in LaGrange, Georgia, to fill up my gas tank. When I went inside to grab a few items, I noticed the clerk had a thick Indian accent. "What part of India are you from?" I asked.
The man seemed surprised that I knew his ethnicity. He asked: "You know India?"
May 3rd, 2021 by Sara Buffington
What do you associate with summer? Here in Florida, we get to do certain summer activities year round, like go to the beach or barbecue.
I do go to the beach year round, but I only go in the water in the summer! I hate cold water.
One of my favorite things about the summer: the fruit. When the watermelons go deep, deep on sale, my heart skips a beat. It is my favorite fruit by far. When I was pregnant with my third child, I cut up an entire watermelon, propped the bowl up on my swollen belly, and ate the entire thing while I watched So You Think You Can Dance.
Ah, summer memories…
This year New Covenant has a new way to launch into summer. It involves looking up and looking out.