All The Things
There was not one single part of today that I didn't absolutely treasure. I just want to settle into that reality and bask in its warmth, because not every day can be like this. Not every day necessarily should be like this--it takes knowing darkness to understand the profound freedom and beauty of light. But when we are lucky enough to experience days of joy, filled with meaningful conversations and connections, the things that are so life-giving, we ought to celebrate.
The most profound joy today came from getting the opportunity to share my story and my experiences over the last few months with the people at Sanctuary. I'm not exactly sure what I said because it wasn't a scripted talk, but I know that my pre-presentation prayers ("Give me the words to say, the eloquence with which to say them, and please allow me to share my experiences in such a way that they will help someone else and be what they need to hear") were answered.
I know this because people were kind enough to tell me, to thank me for my courage and boldness to share, that what I said spoke to something they are experiencing. Simply that alone was enough to keep me rejoicing all day long--not to mention, having the opportunity to tell people about how and why I've turned into this Jesus Freak I never thought I'd be (to quote Pastor Andrew). I could talk all day long about God's goodness, and that in itself is worth rejoicing.
But there were other things....
- Like going to Redeemer and getting encouragement and support about my upcoming trip (plus, the sermon was great...learning about the cathedral that was destroyed in Coventry, England, during the WWII, its remaining wall engraved with the words "Father, forgive"; or the tie-in of the spirit that hovered over the waters in creation was the same one that hovered over the dry bones in Ezekiel, and was spoken into action through a mortal prophet)
- Squeezing in a quick run before Sanctuary
- All things Sanctuary
- Visiting the Syrian family I first met a few weeks ago, and this moment: I arrive after my three friends, who are already upstairs and have brought some presents for the kids (crafts and games). I can hear laughter as I come up the stairs, and for a while, no one hears me knocking. When I am finally let in, I enter the living room to see two of my friends rolling out playdough with the ten-year old girl and her younger brother, my friend Ben shooting a ball at a small, indoor basketball hoop with the three boys. Everyone is smiling and laughing and playing, and it is the most beautiful sight.
- Hearing from Jeremy that my blog was his best birthday gift :)
- Being able to help my magazine edit some pieces in the absence of our wonderful editor (who just had a baby!)
- Visiting a new family, from Mosul, Iraq, who just wanted to have more American friends. Their warmth and happiness at having visitors was so moving. And when you hear that the husband spent three years in Turkey ironing clothes for twelve hours a day, earning only $10, and that he's struggling to find work here but will take and/or do anything, you ask What did you do in Iraq? He says, "I was a physical therapist," but is unable to say much further because the words are choked on the memory of who he was in the old life and who he is here--you realize: there is so much left to do to help these families.
- Seeing my friend, only 22 years old, dive right in and be the best conversationalist with this family of six--despite not knowthing them, despite a language barrier and cultural barrier. It's beautiful to see.
- Having Matty, one of my best friends from New Hampshire and one of the most generous, kind, and salt-of-the-earth people visit me AND bring all the groceries needed to make me a steak and vegetable dinner. It was such a kind gesture, and I feel so lucky to have these kinds of people in my life.
So, that's a nutshell of the beauty of today. The common thread is connection. Communion. Kindness. And the thing that binds them all together is love.