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  • Jennifer Z. Major

A black mark, you say? GREAT!!

Yes, it's been a while.

Nope, I won't apologize. Why? Because I don't want to be or feel sorry for the urgencies of my life getting in the way of this little corner of the Interwebs.

But here we are again, having a chat and catching up. And yes, I'm drinking tea.

So? Where have I been? Not to London to visit the Queen, that's for sure.

Edits, re-writes, laundry, conference preparation, laundry, fatigue, laundry, down-time, laundry, and oh, family life...all of those and more.

But, I can breathe a bit, and look forward to my trip! I leave in...counts on fingers and toes...13 days, for California, and the Mount Hermon Writer's Retreat.

So, here's something that occurred to me, and in a rather "whoa, dude!" kind of way...are you ready?

Not all black marks, are black marks.

What do I mean?

Well, remember the dreaded "there will be a black mark on your record!" threats from people who A) kept records, B) kept black markers, C) enjoyed being threatening, and D) seemed to think that what you did in elementary school would somehow follow you into marriage and parenthood.

So, why exactly did this 'black mark' idea pop into my vacant head?

Because I was printing off stuff for Mount Hermon, and to get to the printer, I had to go around a mountain of hockey gear.

In particular, these things.

Our youngest son's Reebok goalie pads.

Do you see those black marks?

Those unhappy looking black slashes that make the white leather just so...messy?

Well, here's a little thought...those black marks are signs of victory. Signs of him stopping the puck.

Signs of him covering the net and defeating the opposing team's hopes of scoring a goal. Does he stop every puck? Of course not. But as you can see, he stopped those.

So, the next time that life has you rolling in the dirt, covered in bruises and filth, looking very much like you've been fired at from all angles?

Think of these black marks, and remember that these helped to carry the day and elevated the game to something special.

And speaking of only grow in dirt. Giant redwoods need dirt. When Jesus healed the blind man, He used spit, and dirt.

Bloom where you're planted. Take the road less traveled. Let your kids play in the dirt.

Take a hike.

No, not that kind of hike.

Go somewhere off the beaten path, have an adventure, see what's inside the faraway forest... which means you gotta walk in some dirt and get some scuffs, and mud, and dirt on you.

And then you'll have a story to tell.

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