About Sarah Lowther Hensley

Writer. Former public radio journalist and higher education administrator. Currently blogging at https://homeamongthehills.wordpress.com/ and at http://laylectionary.wordpress.com/ and providing volunteer communications support to the Mon Valley District of the United Methodist Church. I have covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, anchored morning drive news, lobbied legislators, volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused children, and performed Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Heidelberger Studentenkantorei. I enjoy the Live HD performances of the Metropolitan Opera at our local theatre and watching German TV on my iPad. I have a B.A. in International Studies from West Virginia Wesleyan College, M.A. in German from Middlebury College and am a 1998 graduate of Leadership West Virginia. I attended the Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks 2013 conference, concentrating on the writer's track. I live in Fairmont, West Virginia with my husband, our son, and Tess the rescue pup.

Wake-Up Call

Phone alert states, "Emergency Alert - Tornado Warning in this area til 8:00 PM EDT. Take shelter now. Check local media. - NWS."

You don’t need a wake-up call 

When you can’t sleep at night.

Eyes wide open.

Nothing feels right.

My cell phone shrieked, “Tornado Warning. Take shelter now.”

We gathered the dog and headed to a storage area in our basement – just in case.

We don’t get many tornados around here, so this was unusual and a bit scary.

They say it’s safest to be away from windows, but then you have no line of sight to see what is or isn’t coming. You have to rely on others to tell you when it’s safe to come out.

The weather warning expired and we emerged from the basement.


Fast forward to 3 a.m.

The rain and wind are gone, but I’m awake and on edge.

My cell phone sits in silence on the nightstand…no alerts and warnings, and it’s way too soon for the alarm clock to sound.

But my mind is shrieking, “The world is out of whack. Take action now.”

For this warning, it does no good to hide in the basement.

We need to open every single window and shine light on all the facts.

We need to creep out of our safe zones and track what’s happening with our own eyes and ears.

This is not a drill.

And we don’t need a wake-up call when we can’t sleep at night.

Oh My God

A black square with tiny print, reading, "God help us."

Oh My God!

The President of the United States is a boorish bully who has bragged about getting away with sexual assault; a state just elected a politician who physically assaulted a reporter the night before the election; our nation is on the brink of kicking the legs out from under the elderly, ill, disabled, and poor; and white evangelical Christians celebrate that this all reflects their “dream” leadership team.

God!

Where are you??

Thy kingdom does not look ANYTHING like this alternate universe that’s come.

Please, God, deliver us from evil.

Amen.

Five Minute Friday: Truth

Microsoft Windows "restarting" screen.(So, I’ve been participating in a “writers’ flash mob” of sorts called Five Minute Friday. In response to a one-word prompt, hundreds of writers sit down and write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font or punctuation; unscripted and unedited. Here’s today’s edition…setting the timer….)

Five Minute Friday: Truth

Go.

Truth exists.

I believe in truth.

I want to know the truth.

I believe I even know what some of it is.

But if I truly value truth, I can’t just assume I know it.

I have my opinions about “truth” and some of those opinions are correct.

Law of averages, and all that…

But – law of averages – some of my opinions about “truth” are false.

The key is to care.

The key is to care whether my version of truth is true.

The key is to keep seeking, asking, considering, and listening.

The key is to care if what I think is the truth holds up over time.

If it holds up over a lifetime…

I do believe in truth.

I do care what it is.

I will continue to seek it.

I will continue to ask questions.

I will continue to consider other points of view.

I will continue to listen.

I will continue to care whether my version of truth is true.

That’s the key.

And that’s the truth.

Stop.

Hand written note states, "It is better to debate an issue without settling it than to settle it without debate."

Five Minute Friday: Sing

The music app icon from an iPhone with a background showing a leafless tree limb.

(So, I’ve been participating in a “writers’ flash mob” of sorts called Five Minute Friday. In response to a one-word prompt, hundreds of writers sit down and write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font or punctuation; unscripted and unedited. Here’s today’s edition…setting the timer….)

Five Minute Friday: Sing

Go.

How can I sing when my heart’s out of tune?

When there’s no harmony in my world?

My soul seeks to sing – to hum along and whistle.

My soul, not always knowing or remembering the words, bursts with song.

I sing because my soul chooses to sing.

It can’t not sing.

Sometimes out of tune or with the wrong words.

But I sing.

And it makes a difference.

At least to me.

Stop.

Five Minute Friday: Empty

Photo of United Methodist Cross and Flame beneath text of "Meditation at the Cross."

(So, I’ve been participating in a “writers’ flash mob” of sorts called Five Minute Friday. In response to a one-word prompt, hundreds of writers sit down and write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font or punctuation; unscripted and unedited. Here’s today’s edition…setting the timer….)

Five Minute Friday: Empty

Go.

Good Friday Haiku;

Even angels are weeping;

Mournful psalms singing.

Power offered up;

Tender-hearted grace shown us;

Yahweh gave it all.

Stop.

Fellow Travelers

Sign says, "Occupied By a Through Passenger."

In the summer of 1989 – a few weeks after the Chinese government cracked down on protesters in Tiananmen Square and a few months before the East German government unexpectedly began cutting holes in the Berlin Wall – I boarded a flight for West Germany and met a man from Syria.

I don’t remember his name and I would not be able to pick him out of a crowd today, but I remember conversing with him during our eight-hour flight. He was a pleasant seatmate, chatting sociably but not so much as to monopolize my attention or time.

The plane landed and we went our separate ways. I headed off to start my new job as a reporter/producer at Radio Deutsche Welle and he headed off in his own direction.

As the war in Syria drags on, I find myself wondering about him and what became of his life since that shared flight and brief conversation.

Is he still alive?

If so, I think he would be in his 60s. What is his life like?

Does he have children? Grandchildren?

Is he among the refugees who fled the country, among those who remained and fear for their lives; or – perhaps – is he part of Assad’s government forces or one of the terrorist groups?

I really have no idea.

Rapid-fire news headlines and pontificating pundits can quickly numb us to an important truth.

The people of Syria – and those in many other war zones around the world – are people who work and eat and sleep and laugh and cry and sing and bleed.

Just like us.

Some of them are nice to other people; some of them are not.

Just like us.

They are born; live; and die.

Just like us.

We are, after all, aboard the same flight.

Five Minute Friday: Abandon

Yellow daffodils bow their heads against the cold of an early March snowfall.

(So, I’ve been participating in a “writers’ flash mob” of sorts called Five Minute Friday. In response to a one-word prompt, hundreds of writers sit down and write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font or punctuation; unscripted and unedited. Here’s today’s edition…setting the timer….)

Five Minute Friday: Abandon

Go.

The afternoon sun magnified the effect of the blindingly white clouds surrounded by almost-too-blue-to-be-true patches of sky.

This early March day started with pelting snow and trees clothed in wintry white, but by afternoon the limbs displayed a costume change, showing off their white blossoms, which were there under the snow all along.

Winter sideswiped us this year, but this morning she reminded us it was not quite time, despite the blossoms and blooms all around us, for her to abandon us to spring.

Stop.