i haven't blogged since early last week because i was busy finishing an editing project and then prepping the house for our house concert saturday night. our dear friends, ryan and holly sharp, and their son, paxton, who's 13 months, came to stay with us saturday afternoon and left on their next adventure early this morning.
rick blogged about this already, and i echo his sentiments. i just want to throw in my female version of the weekend with them. it's been rather dry here in tampa related to finding people we connect with on a very deep level. we have a few very dear friends here to struggle through life with. but, for the most part, though we look under many stones we have had trouble finding people who are like-minded, wanting to press on toward the same things, or even people who just understand what we are going through and where we've been. it has been painful at times, lonely a lot.
so when we were able to spend some time with holly and ryan this weekend, it was time we treasured. savored, like chimay. (and boy, did i savor the few drops of chimay my husband poured for me this weekend while i watched him walk away with quite a larger glassful!) the strange thing to me (and i don't know why i don't just stop being surprised by this, as many times as it's happened to me) is how people can connect with each other so deeply without even knowing each other very well. ryan and holly have spent time with rick on various emergent gatherings. but, in case you don't know this, i have yet to attend one of these sacred events. so when they came to stay with us two years ago to do the same type of house concert, i was meeting them for the first time. thus, this is only the second time i've spent any time with them.
as i told holly, though, it's just like i've known them forever. they are as honest as i am (and if you know me at all, you know i'm honest to a fault). within the first hour or so, holly and i were already discussing the most personal events that have taken place in my life in the last year, and i felt no shame in sharing them with her, and i also felt no judgment--just love.
which brings me to my point, because if i don't try to just make one point i would just ramble on for pages about how amazing it was to spend time with the sharps (and at some point you would get bored and stop reading...). i have been in a dry spell spiritually as well--for a long time now. maybe it's because i work so much i don't take time to just read or rest. maybe it's because i have 3 kids so i don't have time to read or rest. maybe it's because i don't understand why we would put ourselves out there to start a church in boston, only to have to leave 3 years later. maybe it's because in the last 3 1/2 years, rick has struggled to find his place in this world (ok please don't break into the Michael W. Smith rendition of that--you might scare someone!). maybe it's because during that time i've tried to find MY place here too. and in all of this, it seems like God has been absent so much of the time.
so right now, in my life, i find that God reaches me when he sends people like ryan & holly our way. i felt like God was touching me and loving me when holly & i went thrift store shopping on sunday afternoon. i felt like God was saying he loved me when the four of us talked and watched The Office and Scrubs last night. just sharing life with people who are willing to be completely vulnerable, who are willing to say they don't have it all together either, but who are amazingly inspiring--that is being in the presence of God. so thanks, holly & ryan, for being obedient and for sharing yourselves to the people you've stayed with along the way around the country on this tour. because i'm sure we aren't the only lives you are blessing in a special way.
here are some photos of the evening. you have already heard me rave about my tarps, and i have to brag that they made the deck look quite spectacular. so feel free to pat me on the back about how great they look. :) if you weren't here, wish you could have been!