Roof Sitten'

During my last two years of college, five of us girls rented a house off campus. It was an old colonial with a big front porch on 704 Goldsboro Street. The one thing I miss the most about living in that house (besides the pantry door that we covered with laminated cereal boxes) is the front porch roof. My roommate, Michelle, and I would climb out of the upstairs bedroom window and sit on the roof together. What a great place. Once you were on the roof, perspective changed. We would bring up some coffee, play an old Beetles album, or Michelle would bring out her guitar. Every now and then we would switch to the Supremes. The roof was the place where we would share our dreams, have deep conversation and reflection, and people watch. The neighbor right beside of us was some kind of mall security guard. I’m pretty sure Kevin James shadowed him for Paul Blart. He had a wife and two kids. Across the street was a young couple often busy working in the yard. Michelle and I loved to create stories about their day. We would see neighbors coming and going, and let our imaginations concoct all kinds of tales about what they were up to. From the roof, it was almost like we were watching a story, and that we were separate from time. In fact, our favorite spot of the house seemed to be a place we could even step away from our own lives and rehearse dreams for our own future, resolving what type of adults we were going to be. It was on the roof that Michelle and I developed our theory of k-nowledge. As a child, the first step to learning is simply following instruction.  We hear the rules to life, and we attempt to follow them.  But there comes a time when you begin to question.  What the heck is the point of the silent “K”?  This is not a rebellious questioning; it is inquisitive.   There is knowledge, what many refer to as book smarts, and there is k-nowledge, a sort of insight that comes from really looking at life around you, asking good questions, and finding good answers. We feel pretty strange explaining the silent “K” to a child who is learning to read. That is because children have k-nowledge. They haven’t moved to that numb stage yet where you just accept things for knowledge’s sake. Michelle and I were going to college to get our degree, but in that process we realized that neither of us wanted to pursue a career in the degree we were seeking. We wanted to open a coffee shop. Also during our tutelage, we found that many professors merely wanted you to regurgitate their own ideologies and beliefs for an “A.” If you had your own opinion on a matter, you may very well be risking your grade. You may get knowledge with your college, but k-nowledge is a different kind of degree. It comes from good observation and reflection. Sometimes we let our world shrink to our own circles of busy. Our faith and our church may be important to us, but we lose proper perspective. We sit under a sermon seeking a special word of knowledge to help us deal with the rest of our week. We base our personal Bible study on finding the right answers to something a coworker challenged us on, or even a comforting check on our list of spiritual disciplines. The world seems to be all about us. We accept all the silent K’s and teach our children to do the same. I’ve been longing for some more time on that roof lately. It always helped my perspective. I was reading a book in those days that I just remembered in connection to my roof reflections. I just now found it buried in my bookshelf, and blew the dust off of it. It’s called, Taking the Child’s Way Home, by Rob Wilkins. Flipping through, I found this excerpt: As adults, we must constantly remind ourselves of the mammoth and ancient world in which we find ourselves. We must, in the day-to-day movement of life, seek out the mystery, beauty, power, and wildness that constantly surrounds us: at church, the longing of a single voice in a song; at home, the way the light breaks and spills into a child’s room; at work, the restlessness in so many discussions. Only when we begin to rediscover the magnitude of meaning in a glance or a touch or a made-up face, will we begin to see into the heart of a world where life and grace explode… We must do what we can to see the larger picture, to develop a constantly unsettled realization that life is beyond comprehension (103-104). God didn’t make any silent K’s. His word is the larger picture. We are cast into his story.  May we have eyes to see and ears to hear the glory of his creation and great redemption. Ask good questions and seek good answers. But don’t shrink the gospel; revel in the mystery of it all.   Side note: Michelle knew she found her future husband when her co-worker asked her to pass the k-nife. Now they are happy proprietors of a coffee cafe in NY, enjoying their three beautiful children.