Dear [slightly embarrassing nickname I won’t share online]
For ten hours yesterday we had a steady stream of 81 different pairs of big and little feet through our house to warm it with well-wishes and laughs and too much cheese and good bread. Under this wetted roof there was history – the way-back kind that’s old and safe and there’s no need to finish sentences – and there was newness – the kind that forges fresh things and the promise of different journeys.
We took turns to get the door and make hotdogs for kids (I lie; you made all the hotdogs) and cavort in a juvenile fashion on the jumping castle and replenish snack platters and snatch at conversations of how-have-you-been? You do it so well – barefoot hospitality that makes for rest and welcome – and you help me so much to let go of cupcake smears on the walls.
When the last guests left, the house wasn’t beautiful anymore because there were wet picnic blankets and muddy carpets and incredible gifts and dirty dishes and the strong sweet scent of friendship and I felt pinch-myself rich and free. You put on 702 and late-night golden oldies softened the edges of the mess and there was the quiet peace I’ve only ever known with you. They played the Beach Boys – ‘Well I walked up to her and I asked her if she wanted to dance. She looked awful nice and so I hoped she might take a chance’ – and I remembered my Mom telling me it was the first song she and my Dad danced to – ‘When we danced I held her tight, then I walked her home that night, and all the stars were shining bright, and then I kissed her’ – and I thought about generations and how so much changes in the drifts of culture and so much stays the same in the fibre of families.
Then they played the Seekers as we stacked polystyrene cups and found space in the fridge for leftovers and it was another slice of like-yesterday childhood – ‘Close the doors, light the lights. We're stayin' home tonight, far away from the bustle and the bright city lights. Let them all fade away. Just leave us alone. And we'll live in a world of our own.’ I thought how God always saves the best for last – how when all is said and done and all have come and gone there is always you, and this, ‘a world of our own that no one else can share’ – a refuge from this crazy world.
We both get so easily overwhelmed by what seems irrevocably messed up in society – like the world we’re leaving to our boys is drowning in darkness. Insidious corruption and injustice. The whip of stress and so-little-time. Hurt and the fragility of life. And yet last night I could rejoice with you that the God who anyway owns the cattle on a thousand hills has given us authority in this patch of Kingdom ground to be ploughed. And the promise that when our lights shine out on this street after sunset, the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1). There’s an assurance that when friends and family grind salt at our table it is salt of the earth and will not be trampled underfoot but used to flavour and heal and preserve (Matthew 5). This place of peace, where Christ is King.
Thank you for doing life and kids and friends and fun and mess and hope, with me, forever.
All my love