Open for “Business”

Folx are getting the vaccine to fight against COVID and feeling a little less frightened about being in public spaces. I’m folx, although I am still very much committed to wearing a face covering, and actually curious as to why we never did – but that’s a different story. Last weekend, I connected with a soror for a pilgrimage to the nail salon. While waiting for my nails to dry, I noticed the “open” sign on the window. It was illuminated in bright red letters. What struck me was that although on the outside, the lights would beckon one to enter and signal that the establishment was open for business, one would be unable to determine what was occuring inside. The business provided just enough messaging to make one curious and perhaps willing to take a peek inside. As I sat focusing on the signage, while both hearing and seeing what was underway inside the shop, I experienced revelation. I wondered what might we as believers signal on the external, despite what is happening internally.

For sure, folx come out of the nail salon beautifully adorned. Whether it be nails, or waxing or trimming; the purpose is centered in leaving differently than you arrived. However, the said process to greatness is muddled with repair. Inside the salon, there is buffing, shaping, filing, filling, pumicing and massaging.  Sometimes, one experiences a cut. Yes, I’ve experienced minor bleeding from a stubborn cuticle or scraping that seemed subtle but went too far. Other times the water has been scolding hot or subzero cold. The massage chair may only vibrate instead when I’ve chosen kneed or it may not work at all. The space is noisy and loud and one can hardly hear over the instrumentation occurring all around. But there we sit, assuming the procedure to accept the purpose which brought us there.

As believers, I hope we never allow the world to convince us that simply because our light is on that we’re done. In Philippians 1:6, Paul wrote, “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” During the weekend, I watched the response from Kirk Franklin, feeling compelled to provide folx with an explanation as to his behavior. As I shared with a sisterfriend, we must get away from the expectation that believers have it all together. We are sinners, saved by grace. The good work is always at hand. That suggests to me, that there will always be work for us to do. The difference is that as believers, we must know that we need regular and consistent presence “at the nail salon.” With that being the case, we must compel ourselves to keep the light on Jesus on the outside, encourage others to come into the shelter of who He is, and allow Him to work on them. 

My light may shine and direct folx to Jesus, but I am an imperfect person serving a perfect God. What makes me different? I have lived and walked long enough with the Lord to know when I need to come in. When I need to look for the signage and expect that inside, that is where the heavy lifting is done.

Funny enough, when my soror and I left the salon and began walking to the vehicle, I noticed that two of my nails were damaged. The polish already began to come off and was disturbed. I was tired and ready to go. She admonished me to return inside. She said, “No ma’am. Ain’t no way in the world you standing right here and won’t get that fixed. I’ll wait.” I heeded her instruction. I returned and the issue was resolved. Her comments affirmed that help is available to us always and we never have to remain in the state by which we find ourselves. Jesus stays “open.”

Life can be tough and comprise much to dim our spirits and our souls and our sense of furthering the journey. But beloved, know this. God is always nigh. His light is always on. He has the ability to address every area that requires His intervention; and He has such abundant love for us that we do not look like what we’ve been through.

So many people did not identify with the “church” prior to the pandemic. Since that time, the Word of God has become so much more accessible as services have transitioned to a virtual capacity. Even as the country “reopens” you may be the only light others see. Our light is compassion, grace, forgiveness, patience, assurance, joy, faith, healing and hope. May we seek ways to keep the light on for others and commit ourselves to regular maintenance inside the potter’s house aka nail shop.