“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
Two weekends ago I had the privilege of spending the weekend with a great group of friends, some old, some new. Although I was still supposed to be on bed rest I took the risk and left the confines of my home after almost three weeks. I had been to a couple of these types of events in the past, but I really had no idea what to expect since we would be doing photo shoots all weekend. As we pulled onto International Drive the flashing sign in front of the convention center declared our arrival. As the first day of Megacon began, we discussed our game plan as Carlos and I walked [I gimped] towards the main hall. I was excited and nervous, not really knowing what to expect, but eager just the same. That weekend I met a ton of new and interesting people, and ran into a few old friends and acquaintances. Although we were entirely focused on our work, we still made time to goof off a bit as well. I honestly was not sure what to anticipate about that weekend and although most of it was light and fun, some of it was pretty heavy.
“My heart is Heavy and Light…”
As the second day of the convention began I could hardly contain my excitement. The day was clear, beautiful and breezy- the perfect day to shoot. As we began the Avatar shoot I pulled out my camera to get a couple of shots of Morataya in action. Pausing a moment I noticed that a small group had formed behind me watching as the girl and photographer romped in the bushes; among them were three cheerleaders. The Orange County Convention Center is massive; as such they have the ability to hold more than one convention at a time. That weekend there was not only Megacon but, a log home show, a graduation, a motivational speaker, and a cheerleading competition. I smiled at the girls and they quickly asked what was going on and why everyone was dressed up. I told them that it was a sci-fi, comic, anime, video game convention that came to town once a year. With smiles and nods they quickly asked if they could get a picture with the model. Hesitant and nervous I turned to Morataya and asked if he could take a quick break for the girls to get a photo op. Thankfully he agreed and I snapped a couple of quick pictures for them, they thanked me and surprisingly told me that they would be back next year to purchase tickets of their own.
“I exist as I am, that is enough.”
As they thanked all of us and started towards the main hall I returned to what I was doing oddly more joyful than before. The fact that those girls were so completely open to something new and different was a breath of fresh air. Sure they may not understand everything, but they were willing to ask and try it out. Not that all of our run-ins with the cheerleaders that weekend were all pleasant. I cannot count how many dirty looks and rude comments were made. I unfortunately allowed my own tongue to slip and made a snide comment back to one of the cheerleaders in defense of my friends. I was disheartened and saddened at the lack of openness that the other girls had shown, although I was completely in the wrong for the comment that I made. It was uncalled for and unnecessary and I want to apologize for it. One positive experience and one negative experience- almost canceling each other out in my eyes. Not giving it another thought we continued with our shoots and Saturday slowly drew to an end- the longest day of the weekend yet.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love... There is no fear in love.”
Sunday went by swiftly in comparison to the day before and we still had some time to kill after our final shoot. Ravenous we decided TGI Friday’s was the solution and marched towards the main hall while half of the team went to get the car. As we stepped into the room my heart stopped, a lump forming in my throat. This was nothing out of the ordinary, so why was I almost brought to tears by what lie before me? Perhaps it is because in the simple things I find beauty; the simplicity and complication of God’s unconditional and unyielding love for us. Mouth agape I swiftly pulled out my cell phone and stole a shot of what had taken my by such surprise.
“Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?”
A group of cheerleaders sat on the ground surrounded by con-goers, some of which who were dressed in Cosplay [dressed up like a character]. Now why something that basic and simple would, hit me so hard? Those girls who may normally not give those kids a second glance at school, who may poke fun, or give dirty looks for how they dress, were playing cards on the floor- laughing. It was Beautiful. The kids that more than likely by choice would have no interaction with one another in a regular school day. I pray that they may take that experience with them into their schools, their youth groups, and etcetera and be sure to include those that may be ostracized for the simplest of things. To invite the kid that sits by himself/herself at lunch to come and join them and actually care. If they can look past everything to play a simple game of cards, how is it that it nearly impossible for the modern day church to do this?
“Can you really say No and Lord in the same sentence?”
Cliques are a way of life, they can be broken down bit by bit, but they will never really dissolve all together. It is a fact of life- you aren’t going to hang out with someone if they don’t have the same interests as you. If you have nothing in common why bother spending time with someone? It states in scripture that we have Christ in common, which should supersede all the rest, in my opinion. Then why are people continually turned away from church, not greeted when attending a service, and given dirty looks for their appearance? Where are Christ’s ambassadors? ‘Chrisitians’ are turning away the homeless, the Goths, the homosexuals- church is made for the dirty. We need to get over this holier than thou mentality and do what Christ told us to! We need to be willing to step into the awkward moments to allow God to work.“God wants your broken, dirty, addicted heart.”When I shared this with a couple people close to me I got a few different responses. One in particular was- How do we change what we as Christians have done? The change starts with one; show the unconditional love of God to the people society rejects, and even those it doesn’t. We can claim Christianity till we are blue in the face but your actions speak volumes. For fear of becoming redundant I will conclude with this. If a small group of cheerleaders can step up and share a simple card game with a group of peers they wouldn’t normally talk to, what is stopping you as a Christian from doing the same?