I pulled out of the driveway two hours earlier than planned because H was adamant. He insisted I arrive at the beach house in North Carolina early to avoid a storm predicted to hit the coast in the afternoon. After just one month of marriage I realized he is wise beyond explanation. I listen when he speaks with conviction.
After I unload a tote bag of books, computer, suitcase and enough food to last a week into the elevator and ride up to the second floor of the house, rain streaks the windows two minutes later. And a fury of wind follows, bringing bitter cold temperatures along with it. While looking out the wall of windows over an endless expanse of grey churning ocean, I tell him he was right as usual, phone pressed into my cheek.
I spent the past week alone at our friend’s beach house for making progress on my book, a place my family has frequented over the past decade due to the kindness in friendship. When I walked out of the elevator and into the quiet house, every room held out a memory for me with invitation.
Perhaps the FOR SALE sign at the entrance has swayed the swiftness of waxing nostalgic.
Immediately upon arrival, the sweet face of my daughter lit up by the flame from candles on a homemade birthday cake returned with a glance toward the kitchen island. I could almost hear her fourth grade girlfriends encircling the moment, singing the birthday song in unison. Gift bags covered the kitchen table, giggles filled the floor beneath.
A few years later, I would stand in a brisk breeze on the deck taking photos of unsuspecting teenage girls traipsing through the back yard and over the dunes, onto the beach.
As I look down to the outdoor shower below, a faded memory of my son looking up at me with sun-kissed cheeks and a toothless smile brings back the joy of mothering my children into adulthood.
And then there is the couch in the living room that holds grief. That summer H couldn’t talk about work for the pain that threatened to shadow the joy of vacation.
In the words of Fred, the owner of the house, “I have come to the realization that we don’t really own property, we just lease it.”
Isn’t this Kingdom perspective? We are, all of us, travelling through to an eternal place, leasing time from God who is the owner of all Creation.
These days of waiting for the promise of fulfillment to the goal of London have turned disappointment miraculously golden. I didn’t plan on that kind of redemption but then again, isn’t God’s wisdom often surprising?
Huddled in a booth with Fred’s family at their restaurant Aqua, one of my favorite places on the planet, we enjoy tapas and talking about politics, England and the trip we made together to Rwanda. We hadn’t broken bread together for several years but we picked up right where we left off.
In true friendship, your affiliations, religious beliefs and tastes about life in general don’t really matter. It is you who matters most in the meeting. This is what Jesus offers when he calls you friend, a clean slate of reunion with meaningful conversation.
Jesus was there warming his face in the heat from her birthday cake, smiling over the railing at the folly of youth beneath and weeping for the pain we bore through a dark season. In these golden days when fall slants creation with hues of wonder, He sits with me in the bay window as I write new chapters. And dream of what awaits on the other side of the Atlantic.
Transition is that uncomfortable place where what fit like a glove suddenly threatens to strangle you with uncertainty. And waiting can be a frustration or second nature attentiveness to the goodness of God who is present, always.
Lease time or own it. It’s really a choice, isn’t it? Much like accepting His friendship and listening to the voice of conviction.