after seeing erin off to work this morning, then having breakfast and prayer time with larissa and maria, i left madison.
i drove so many hours in a too-hot car with engine often threatening to overheat, and a/c that was spotty at best. had to take breaks to let it cool. so it took 9 hours total, getting from there to here.
when i came into the city from the west (i love the panorama of the city scape from I-196 at Lake Michigan Drive!), i went straight to the stockbridge neighborhood and drove around, letting my eyes and heart drink up what i saw. i saw the new community garden on 4th and stocking and thought about what a great thing it is to have that fresh little oasis of hope and nutrition in this place. drove past crystal and dana’s apartment, the cones’ house, the houses where some of the little neighbor kids i know live with their families, and the palacios’ house… anticipating seeing each of them soon. drove down the alley behind “our” house and then around it’s front-side, laying eyes on it for the first time, and whispering a prayer of hopefulness for it soon to be ours. looked out affectionately at all the neighbors sitting out in yards and on porches, talking, drinking and eating, and appreciated their colors and variety, wishing to know them all. landed, finally, in the alley parking spot behind the boiler room. parked and walked toward the tenderos’ house. didn’t take more than 10 steps before i heard my name being called from an upstairs window, and moments later was smothered in hugs and kisses. danny pulled up on his motorcycle, just back from seeing a movie. and, even though it was past the childrens’ bedtime, we all sat a while in the living room, i eating farmer’s market green beans with jenn’s homemade pesto (first batch of the season), danny telling stories to the kids, who listened with rapt attentiveness. got the skinny from tony about what lies ahead in the boiler room life this week, and felt my heart grow jumpy with joy at the thought of being able to get in on all that action: the reflecting and dreaming, the painting and cleaning, the feasting and praying. it is very good.
though this past year has taught me that God is not bound to particular geographic places, it remains a fact that this place is a Thin Place for me, that it is easier somehow for me to glimpse His face in this particular community in this particular neighborhood and in this particular city. and He has brought be back here (!!!), and not only me but also my husband, my partner in life, unexpectedly and blessedly… and… my heart is so full tonight.
tim is across the country, with lots of extended 24-7 family, for a ten-day long campus america conference at Northfield. his absence in Grand Rapids as i am just arriving is not ideal, but i’m glad for him to be there, with so many good people. and am glad that he was here in stockbridge before i was, to be welcomed and hugged and welcomed home as family, too.
tomorrow, after a photography gig in the afternoon, i get to go out to the lakeshore where justin and marguerite and claire (oh, to kiss her tiny face!) are staying in a family cottage, to bask in the sun with them, and tell stories over dinner. and that will be just right.
but for tonight, i’m off to sleep.