"Sitting there in the moonlight, I came to the knowledge I had so hungered to find. God is the lover and maker, the friend and creator. He reveals his goodness in the tastable, touchable wonder of his world. His love is felt in the fellowship of his people. His joy is what sings in the wind and spices the best wine, and glimmers in the gold of sunset. In the savor of feasts, the cadence of seasons, in apples crunched and friends touched, God is known for the eternal Good that he is." -Sarah Clarkson at The Rabbit RoomMy husband went out of town this past week. He left Wednesday night. He is due back here in a couple of hours. A few weeks back, as I contemplated his absence, I expected a quiet weekend of reading, sewing, and working outside. I thought that the boys would be busy with their jobs and other activities and I would be alone for a good bit. The approaching solitude was a welcome break in what has so far been a full, busy, fall.
It was not to be. Ten days or so ago, one of our adopted, honorary Pinckneys sent me an email asking if his aunt and uncle, who were to be visiting this weekend, could stay at our house. I confess that my very first and very selfish thought was, "Well, there goes my weekend." My second thought, which thankfully, followed closely was more gracious, "Of course. They're your family. You're part of our family here. Of course, they can stay."
Fast forward to this Saturday. I was busy cleaning - scrubbing the tub, washing the mildewed shower curtain, covering up the hole in the bathroom shower tile, changing sheets, vacuuming - hurrying so that everything would be ready when our guests arrived. As expected, the boys were gone and I was alone. But I wasn't doing what I had anticipated. Instead of sewing, I was cleaning. Instead of working in the yard, I was on my knees in the bathroom. But I was not unhappy with it. I was glad to be doing some of that deep cleaning that gets passed over most weeks. More than that, I was really and truly happy to be welcoming Albert's relatives and looking forward to dinner with them.
Then a phone call came. From Thomas. At my sister's house. Asking if my two nephews and niece could come back with him and spend the night. Three more people. Well, I'd already let go of the idea of solitude, so why not three more. The more the merrier, right?!
Exactly right. The kids arrived in an hour or so. The house was mostly clean and I had turned my sights to dinner. Kay and Annsley wanted to cook, so they got busy in the kitchen. John and Linda arrived a couple of hours later. Albert showed up soon after. Full house, smells of ginger chicken on the stove, piles of bok choy in the sink. Rice cooker going.
Over a delicious meal, prepared by several hands, instead of mine alone, we laughed and talked. Through the evening, we shared coffee and tea and goodies brought by Linda. We watched a homemade video starring my youngest nephew, we discovered mutual friends and connections as we lingered at the table.
This morning, in a quiet house again, the guests all gone, the boys still asleep, Coty on a plane headed home, I am thankful for a weekend that turned out very differently from the one I was expecting. I am thankful that God's love was tastably, touchably experienced in the goodness of food and fellowship this weekend. I add to this weekly numbering of God's endless gifts:
1333. New friends
1334. Old friends that feel at home here
1335. Fellowship around the table
1336. Delicious food
1337. The smell of ginger, garlic, onions
1338. The slightly bitter goodness of greens
1339. The way vinegar enhances that flavor
1340. Connections - across miles and years
1341. Connections - because of fellowship in Christ
1342. A son who is a very wonderful older cousin
1343. Girls who like to cook
1344. Sitting and knitting with those same girls!
1346. Fred's sermon or should I say Santo Frederico! Listen. You'll understand.
1347. Coffee time
1348. An afternoon, even with a house full, to sit and rest
1349. The opportunity for hospitality
1350. The bonds of physical family and church family
1351. A dear friend and the sharing of hearts and concerns over coffee
1352. And joy, the showers and crisp cool air - so welcome
1353. But most of all, for God, the eternal Good, lover, maker, friend, creator, who is the source of every one of these very good gifts.