Just got home from a wonderful, amazing, relaxing, invigorating time with our friends at their new home on our favorite body of water--the one we can see from our house but rarely put our feet in, the one that surges with tides and gleeks salt and is almost always referred to with a direct article before it. A few years ago, my well-intentioned editor kept changing my "The Sound" to "The Puget Sound," which instantly identified her as being NOT from our region. The Sound, or Puget Sound, are both perfectly acceptable, and let me tell you, more than acceptable is being on a deck directly above it, on a beach bordering it, or--so much better, you can't even qualify it--being in a boat skimming its surface when the day is hot and the sky light blue and those with you in the boat dear friends. And maybe, maybe the best of all--at least for me--was the moment when I jumped off that boat and plunged cleanly and deeply into that salty water and swam for shore!
When we reached our friends' home Thursday, M was in the driveway, jumping up and down to greet us (J was picking up their boat, which we were privileged to help launch later in the afternoon). It was fairly standard-looking, beautiful landscaping surrounding a grey-painted with white trim well-kept home. But then she said, "Come on in," and opened the front door. Beve and I gasped. A wall of windows lining the entire south side of the house and beyond those gleaming windows, there was the water. I'm telling you, it instantly, completely, made me think of the glorious riches of the Kingdom of God. Simple and nice from the outside, but a treasure waiting on the other side of the door. A treasure big, broad and full of adventure seen from every angle.
And I was struck by God's faithfulness, specifically for our friends, who have come through a vail of tears in the last few years, but for all of us who know and follow Him. God was so far ahead of these friends, He hinted that this move was coming, and actually protected this house, kept it from selling for an entire year so that it'd be theirs when they were ready. This isn't the only time God has to wait for us to catch up to His vision, but what I've seen repeatedly in my own and others' lives, our hearts move from reluctance to ambivalence to imperative as we discover His proposed plan of Good for us. He's so patient, so gentle in His nudging that often when the time comes to step out, to move away, or whatever, we can imagine no other path but the one He started! This gives me great hope. Hope that my dreams might also have feet to them, haven't been amputated at the knees but are simply broken and need to heal.
This house on the water will be a safe haven for our friends, a retreat, and a place to build community for them. It will be a place from which to launch new adventures on the water, to sit by fires and build memories with their kids and grandkids. And this is exactly what the Kingdom of God does for us. In our friends' new house on the beach, which is already their true home, their "Thank-you, God" place in all the earth, I was reminded again--in the food (simple, plentiful and exactly right, even that amazing fresh blackberry pie which I definitely over-indulged in), the quiet, the penetrating conversation (especially this morning!)--of His always- working, whether I sense it or not, intimate presence in our lives. It was a reminder sorely, sorely needed, and thankfully received!