I should have blogged on the Fourth of July. I tried. I thought and thought about what I could write. I considered writing about fireworks, the perfect blooms of light that are one of my favourite events each summer. But, thanks to the fires, there were no fireworks this summer and felt bizarre to write about them. I considered patriotism, but that is something I have long struggled to understand. I feel a surge of pride when I see my brother in uniform, watch him tip his wings as he comes in for a landing in his jet. But there is an unease in my spirit regarding our politics, our culture, our “american dream.”
So, in the end, I didn’t write on Wednesday though it is my usual day for a post and it was a national holiday. Instead, I spent the day packing my boss’s kitchen as he and his wife are currently out of town and are moving this weekend.
I did, however, have a few friends over on the Fourth and that is worth talking about.
E and I had a BBQ, which we hosted at my boss’s house in the big backyard full of dead grass because it’s been a brutal summer and the sprinkler system on the rental has ceased functioning (if it ever did). We were slobbered on by their Newfoundland–Sydney–who is one of the happiest but laid back dogs I’ve ever known. She’ll be great when the new baby comes home to their new house, they’ll just have to be even more vigilent about wiping her face and loose jowels that leak a thick dribble when she pants in the summer heat.
We had our friends J and K over, they’re married and both at seminary with me. I went to high school with J and had a huge crush on one of his best friends. It’s funny now, to laugh about all that, to know his wife K and realize that we often don’t marry the people we planned and that life never turns out as we imagined (K told him no three times before she consented to a first date). They brought their dog Abby who explored the backyard with ceaseless sniffing and hope for great adventure. Sydney watched the process from her perch on the patio at our feet, her chin resting between spread out paws.
We ate, we drank, we laughed and over three hours passed before we realized the time. We had to catch up on a good deal of life that we’ve missed in the past two months and then we talked about current plans, some hopes and dreams, confusions and concerns in the church…etc. It was a grand evening of absolutely no plans, no contrived conversations or ice breaker games.
It was just good.
It’s been a long time since either E or I had friends like that. We talked about it the next day, how thankful we are that God has provided us with good friends to share life with, to pray with and for, to simply enjoy. It’s been a long week. I’ve packed my boss’s house (mostly) and I helped E pack and move his own apartment last night. The girls I nanny bickered off and on all day yesterday, and if it wasn’t for a neighbour girl to break the tension, I think they’d do the same today. My digestive system is on the fritz again and I seem to be forgetting almost everything on my to-do list.
But Wednesday was a good night because I was allowed the chance to remember that life isn’t to-do lists, it isn’t assignments at school or long days at work. Life is friends and beauty and joy (just as much as it is sorrow and pain in the darker days). Life is about enjoying each other and enjoying what God has blessed us with, even when those blessings are the smallest things.
Like a week of housesitting.
A dog to walk.
A cool evening rain, observed from the covered patio.
A national holiday to enjoy a day off.
Money to buy meat for burgers.
And good friends to share a meal with.
Because friends remind me of God and how he loves us, how he stands by us no matter what and how he just wants to be with us–not because he is lonely but because he delights in us, in his creation.
Wednesday night was a great evening to celebrate shared life, a shared journey and a shared quest for the glory of God and the hope of the coming promise.