Tuesday, August 7, 2007

THE TRANSFER ZONE

Where energy had filled the halls and laughter had danced upon the air, it was now melancholy and still. The annual two week summer visit to “Gigi and Papa’s” house had come to an end. All too quickly the little faces pressed against the rear window faded into the distance. As the dust settled down onto the empty driveway, I closed the door and made one last trip through the hauntingly quiet house in search of anything that may have been left behind. My pace slowed to a halt when my eyes fell upon the collage portrait painting of “Morris”, which hung upon my dining room wall. Suddenly suspended high above my mixed emotions, I hung there taking in the luxuriant tapestry of image and verse woven together to tell the story of this man’s existence.


Well do I remember the life of Morris Spruill who found delight in the Lord and in his family. Though Morris worked in a saw mill during his earlier years, he was a printer by trade. His skill was passed down from generation to generation beginning with his son and ending with his son’s son. Around Morris’s table could be found inspiring company, uplifting conversation, and a homegrown feast. Though his home was humble, riches were in his house.

It wasn’t just layers of paint I was gazing upon, it was layers of life. The “baton” of Christian faith had been so carefully passed from one generation to the next. I can still hear him telling me as we worked together in my garden, “Listen to me, now. I will not always be around.” Suddenly, my heart filled with urgency. I began to question. “Do my children, the fifth generation represented in this painting, have a firm grip on the baton of faith? Do they know the awesome responsibility they have now been handed? Do they understand that it requires good timing to pass it on to those running so closely behind them? And do they know what it would mean to fumble it?”

I went to bed wondering if my children understood how critical it is to be in the “transfer zone”. I wondered if they knew that the transfer zone was the most hazardous part of the race. It is where one runner reaches back with the baton and passes it to the runner who is coming up from behind. In the transfer zone, if the person passing the baton does not release it with precision or if the person receiving the baton does not grab it at just the right moment, it can be fatally dropped and the race will be lost.

When the early morning sun peeked into the skylight of my studio the next day, it found me busy journaling these very thoughts. While wrapped in a blanket, sipping on a strong cup of coffee, my soul found expression as my fingers flew across the key board. I took no pause but continued to write…

If all I ever have to leave my children are the material things I have cherished, entertainment, money, or personal memories, then I am a complete and utter failure. It is my sole part in this race to pass on the baton of faith that was so carefully and successfully passed on to me. I guess that is what I love so much about the collage painting of “Morris”. It serves as a reminder of the race that I am in. And though the stages of this family’s race may shift and change we are all together in the transfer zone, as long as the baton is in play.

So, while reaching back to pass the baton of Christian faith on to the generation coming up behind me, I passionately cheer with the echoes of those ahead of me, “Run, family, run!”

“Run Shawn and Tiffany! Run! Run like I know you can.”

“Run Robb and Rebe! Run! Your moment is now!”

“Run Jeremy and Leah! Run Matthew, run! Take a firm hold!”

“Run Rick and Cliff! Run Liz and Andy, run! Don’t lose your grip!”

“Run Taren, Tylie, and Tanae! Run! The baton is still in play!”

“Run Allie and Chelsea! Run! The race is still on!”

“Run Chris! Run! Do not become distracted!”

“Run Megan and Jessica! Run! Run with all you’ve got!”

“Run Henry! Run Sam and George, run! Together, we are a team!”

“Run! Kristian and Kenneth! Run! Stretch further, keep reaching!”

“Run! Olivia, run! You can make it, I know you can!”

“Run Mary Elizabeth, run! We are all here to encourage you!”

For, believe it or not, it will soon be your turn to pass the baton of faith to those who are ever so swiftly gaining speed!”

23 comments:

Tiffany said...

WOW! I think that is one of the most powerful things I have ever read...actually brought me to tears. Thanks for the great reminder and encouragement. I love you!

waterlilygallery said...

Cindy,

This is a wonderful message and beautifully written. It brought tears to my eyes.

Cindy Gray said...

Run D! Run!

Lisa Ober said...

Beautifully written for sure. By the way, have you joined Christians in Portraiture (I think that's what it's called)? Just another link to lead people to you. You probably know about it. Anywho, just thought I would pop by to compliment you on the wonderful portrait. Little did I know I would read such inspiration. You reminded of my most important job with my children. Thanks for the words and the painting.

CyndiG said...

Run Lisa, run!

Anonymous said...

Cindy,
Thank you for writing this. I have struggled with a lot of things in my life but its a great reminder and challenge to me to remember the people that put the effort in for me. I dont want to be the runner who drops the baton. I needed the encouragement.

Rick Spruill

Cindy Gray said...

Run, Rick. Run. You've got a good grip!

Anonymous said...

Hey!! I really like your blog!!! I get chills when I think about our family and think how amazing each of us are!! I can't wait for the next time so see all of you! How are you all doing? Tell your family hi and hopefully sometime soon we will be able to see each other!!! LOVE YOU!!

Liz Spruill

Cindy Gray said...

Run, Liz!! Run! I'm here to watch you run!

Brook said...

I'm so glad that I married into this family! I couldn't have understood when Shawn and I were standing in the mud of your back "yard" as he was asking me to marry him exactly what a wonderful legacy I was joining. We all have huge responsibilities with our children. You did a great job with yours! Thanks! And thanks for your prayers! Love you bunches!!!

Brook said...

just another idea for your page...add your web page link like you added your friends list. Title it something like, "favorite links". Or if you just want to feature it specifically, you could title it as "My Web Page...check it out dude!"

Cindy Gray said...

Run, Brook! Run!

Joyce Collins said...

I would feel honored to be added to your list...can I add you to mine? Hey...I love your daughter-in-law. She has held a special place in my heart for many years!

Cindy Gray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joyce Collins said...

Wow! This is good!!!!! I mean....REALLY GOOD!!!!! God has blessed not only with an artistic ability for the canvas...but with words!

Cindy Gray said...

Run,Joyce! Run! I am encouraged to be running with you as, together, we run along side Brook cheering her on as she "passes the baton".

Brook said...

i love my two moms in christ!! I appreciate your prayers!

Shawn D Gray said...

I love this story because it reminds me of my senior year in highschool when you ran across the finish line with me at my district cross country race. I love you.

Cindy Gray said...

...and I am still yelling; "Run, Shawn Run!" I love you, too.

Anonymous said...

You are such a gifted artist and writer. I am so proud of you.

I was wondering if the first paragraph shouldn’t read as; “As the dust settled onto the empty driveway, I closed the door and entered the hauntingly quiet house. Then suddenly I began to …dance and sing praises and shout Glory!!” Oh well, it was just a thought.

Love, Dad

Cindy Gray said...

With great laugher in my soul, I cheer, “Run, Dad! Run!” as you run along side me with encouragement. You bring such joy to my spirit. I love you.

Cindy Gray said...

I would never overlook an opportunity to shout, "Run, Tiffy, run! You are well on your way!" Since I can not figure out how to post this beneath you comment, I will cheer you on from way down here.

You are precious to my heart, I love you.

Lanelle said...

You write very well.