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Chase Park Warehouse
Athens, Ga


MEIRA Missions

Sunshine + A Smiley Face

Meredith Raiford

This past week. How do I begin to boil down all the important happenings of this past week. It’s been work filled. It’s been hot. It’s been productive. It’s been challenged. Sometimes it’s been a fight. Sometimes it’s been a joy. So much work is happening at such a rapid pace. When my right arm starts to cramp from the repetitive motions, I switch to my left for the bulk areas.

I’m waking up at sunrise and coming back from work a little before sunset. The sun is both friend and enemy right now. I can’t work without it, but I sometimes struggle to keep my energy up under the full blasts of its rays. The mornings are the most draining.

I have regular faces that stop by to watch and spend time with me, based off of their own morning and afternoon commutes. My favorite is a five year old little girl named Kiara. She tells me which colors to use and shapes to paint, regardless of what I’m actually working on. I normally oblige her. She asks roughly five questions a minute, and every so often insists I stop working to pick flowers with her or search for our favorite baby goat. She is my daily smile. God knows I can’t work like this without a kiara in my life.

For those of you who would like to see this lovely little fairy princess, I’m pleased to tell you she will be in the painting! She will be the girl with the purple slippers, pretty pink dress, both arms, two eyes, lots of beads in her hair and a smiley smiley face. (These were all of her conditions on me being allowed to paint her.) We had a photo shoot earlier this week where she danced, jumped, skipped and twirled for roughly 50 photos. I’ve yet to choose the winning picture.

Despite the growing number of familiar faces around me, I still have days where I come home tired, rundown and lonely. I crave open laughter and honest intentional conversations. But this is just the brief season I am in. What I lack in this one area is replaced with overwhelming surplus in others. I know that these six weeks that I’m living in right now are going to be ones that I look back on in years to come with wonder and joy.

I’ve never been more in tune with the Holy Spirit than I have been here, and I wouldn’t trade that gift for any one of my heart’s other desires right now. Physically I’m exhausted. Spiritually, I never want to leave this place.