I sat around my kitchen the table this morning with friends who, should you have asked, I would have said would never sit around my table all together again. The world has pulled us apart as we follow dreams and calls and logic would have told our minds that this would never work. But what does logic know, anyways?
Because this morning as 4 friends gathered it didn’t matter that we hadn’t planned this. It didn’t matter that we hadn’t coordinated the trips for months, because we hadn’t. We didn’t bust out our daytimers and work this into our agendas. Instead, God. He orchestrated this moment and the crossing of paths and timetables and flights in and out of town. Let’s be honest, we couldn’t have pulled it off and we didn’t need to because He did and it was a gift and on this eve of Thanksgiving weekend all I can do is offer up thanks.
Sometimes the best things are unplanned. Outside of our grasp. Beyond our control. Ask me 2 weeks ago if this morning could have happened and I would have laughed. Just goes to show you I may have a bit of Sarah in me. I’m not sure she meant to laugh at God. It’s just that some things seem ridiculous. Beyond our scope. And they are! We just forget that they’re not outside of his.
And then suddenly 4 friends are scooping yogurt and granola into bowls and sipping steamy cups of bold coffee and laughing and crying and everything in between and we whisper our thanks. Because this moment was orchestrated long ago. It was deemed necessary by One who knows we needed it. Who knew the very conversation and coffee and connectedness was treading on holy ground territory.
We’re made for community. You know that by now, right?
I had a moment of sadness this afternoon. Not because I had to hug my friends goodbye or because I had the fleeting thought that this may never happen again and why for the love of Instagram did noone take a picture, but because some people don’t have this. It made me sad that some people are sitting in their homes right now feeling alone. Disconnected. Craving something that they may not even be sure could possibly exist.
I want to tell you that it does.
I also want to tell you that it doesn’t come easy.
These women were here at my table today because we’ve fought. Like, actually. We’ve disagreed and challenged and spoke the words, “That’s just not okay.” We’ve whispered words to each other that we didn’t ever think we’d speak out loud. We’ve shared secrets that we were sure would go with us to the grave. We’ve opened up a part of our lives to each other that was scary to tap into. We’ve asked each other hard questions and waited in awkward silence for the answer. We’ve dug into parts that got messy. We’ve made each other cry with our prying and our insight. We’ve made each other laugh with just the same. We’ve flowed freely between fashion and following the call of Christ. Grade 4 bullies and deep passions. Identity and worth and favourite chai recipes. It all happens around the table and it’s all as important as the next because this is what life is. It’s not all dire moments and deep secrets. It’s equally footwear choices and ooh’ing and aah’ing over the beauty of each others babies. It’s all sacred ground.
I want to tell you that there’s only one reason we can live the deep and the hard and the ugly together. It’s because the common theme is love. Like, the real deal kind of love. The kind that can ask you something tough and you know they only want you to answer because they love you and they want your good. The kind that can challenge your view on politics or school systems and no one gets angry because love comes first and the challenge only comes because of love. Out of love. Not selfish ambition or conceit. Not arrogance or pride. But love. The underlying notion that I want your good and you want mine. Nothing more. And never anything less.
I waxed nostalgic for awhile about how this rag tag group came to call each other friends. I don’t know if there was a moment where it happened. Where it became official and all of that. But what I do know is that each one of us looked at the other with eyes of acceptance. With eyes that said yes. You are welcome here. With your practical footwear and artistic spirit. With your quiet wisdom and secondhand scores. With your tattoos and your need for silence sometimes and even with your love of Big Turk. Yes, you are different than I am. Yes, you have different thoughts and opinions. Yes. Yes, you are welcome with all of that. With every fibre of who you are I want you here. Never I’m better. Never I’m more right. Never you just don’t cut it.
I had this dream today. This dream that we would look at each other like this. You and me. You and the person standing next to you at school pick up. Me and the person behind me in the grocery store line. You and your neighbour. Me and mine. That we would drop the need to make ourselves feel important or right or better and that instead we would simply look into each others eyes, all eyes, and say you are welcome here. Just as you are. Please don’t try and be like me, the world certainly doesn’t need more me’s. And I’m not going to try and be like you. Instead, can we be who we were made to be and look at each other with love?
I think we can.
We can if we understand that the heart of God is love and we’re called to love as He did. To love in a way that says I’m not here to fix you or change you or tweak you to suit me better but to open our arms and embrace each other in the same way God does to us. In a way that says you are accepted. You are loved. Not when you get it together. Not when you finally have all the answers. But right now. Always. No matter what.
This Thanksgiving weekend I’m thankful for so many things. Today, especially, its for friends who love me with the no-matter-whatness of God.