One year ago, I sat on an aluminum bench with a journal on my lap, under the live oak of Brookgreen Gardens in my southern hometown. Leaves were twirling from high branches like confetti being poured from skyscraper windows, collecting in puddles of color around my feet.
As I surveyed the landscape of this place where beauty haunts and history speaks through swaying tails of moss, the distant sound of an ambulance mingles with the rit-rit-rit of bird chatter. A gray sky yawns; a backdrop to my unanswered questions.
H was an ocean away walking the streets of London on a scouting trip while I stayed behind, pondering our Macedonian call to England. My journal tells the true tale of my heart.
This place of fountains, statues and flowers, it was a respite of hope during a long, lonely waiting season. And this particular Sunday stroll, as spring buds were just unfurling, I said goodbye to what I came to know as a safe oasis.
Is it a coincidence that the neighborhood we call home now in London is known as Brook Green?
Only if you are callous to the ways of wonder and God’s imagination.
London is a city of colorful doors and small garden spaces. A few weeks ago I snapped a photo of our front door and asked people to help me pick a new color for it. And I learned you are all some opinionated people with good taste.
When I sat on that park bench a year ago, I dreamt of what I didn’t have but longed for often. True community characterized by hospitality that transforms people from an address to real stories that matter in the Kingdom.
We want to be front door people. Inviting. Intentional. Relational. That’s why we chose turquoise for the color of our front door.
When my friend Kristin Schell started the Turquoise Table movement, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. She painted a picnic table turquoise and placed it in her front yard under a magnolia tree as a gathering place for her community.
Kristin says, “The turquoise table has become a meeting place—kind of like the old village well—for neighbors, friends, and even strangers, to hang out and do life together. The table has spurred a front yard revival in our neighborhood and had become a welcome place to gather and love.”
Turquoise tables are popping up all over the US and beyond.
H and I have talked long about how the turquoise table translates in the UK context because picnic tables and front yards are sparse in London, especially because they aren’t called yards, they’re gardens.
Last week, I met my new friend Elaine for tea and she handed me a book of matches as we were finishing our conversation. She said God often leads her to give people random objects that result in significant meaning for the recipient.
As she slid them in front of me she admitted she had two and nearly kept this one because it was her favorite color. The one she kept was pink.
When I looked closely, I saw that they were from a local Mexican restaurant called Wahaca and they weren’t matches, they were seed sticks. And the color? Turquoise.
How is this significant? I met H in Phoenix and during the early years of our marriage, our favorite restaurant happened to be called Qaxaca (Wahaca). And the color? I don’t really need to explain that, do I?
While we are waiting, God is planting seeds, not only in us but in the people who He wants us to meet.
The day I met Elaine, we sat on the concrete wall in front of my house instead of a lonely park bench and I told her why we painted our front door turquoise. She prayed a beautiful prayer of blessing as busy people walked past and puddles of petals swirled in the streets.
Brook Green was always God’s heart for us, in the winter of waiting and the springtime of fulfillment. He stands at the door and knocks waiting for us to answer. (Revelation 3:20) How can we not be front door people?
How is God stringing the color, design and details of your life together? There are no random doors in the playground of God’s imagination.