almost three weeks now since we got the keys to this house. and only 2 nights that we’ve slept here. the first i slept horribly. these floors — because we live in what tim calls a dr. Seuss house — are so crooked that the furniture leans this way and that. we’re learning this house. i feel like we’re uncovering it, and what it was meant to be. it seems like a cross between farm-house and cottage suits it well.
some of our things seem like they were made for this house. they tuck just perfectly into certain spaces and our antique, road-side/thrift-store furniture feels so at home in a house built around the turn of the 19th century. so even with all the boxes and curtain rods and tools still scattered around the living areas, i can see that this is going to be lovely when it’s all finished.
today we are making room. (well, tim is doing this while i rest because i seem to have caught claire’s cold). we are making room for sarah jayne and for crystal, who will come to live here with us within the next week, i think. crystal’s room just needs the trim painted and blinds put up. sarah’s needs the wall patches completed, the tools/equipment cleared out, the walls painted, the door re-hung, and a curtain made. and then they will be here. and we will learn to “take care of each other” as the robert louis stevenson quote hanging on our fridge door says.
behind our house and across the alley is an empty little house with a small back porch and it appears that steve and dave and joe oakes and joe black and a couple other guys i don’t yet know have made it their resting spot, their dry place, their sleeping place. some days i walk to the rear of our yard and stand at the fence and talk with them. they’re so welcoming, so glad to see me back and to meet my husband. and in the mornings, before the Family Pantry starts selling alcohol, they are sober enough to have real decent human conversations with. steve says that one day he’d like to sober up and come visit us. i didn’t tell him this was a prerequisite to visiting our home, but he seems to know that that would be respectful. i hope he’ll do it.
watching tim at the Love Feasts has been sweet. he’s getting to know these crazy beautiful neighbors. this past week he worked at the “intercessory table” — a little station we’ve set up to allow people to come bring their prayer requests on folded pieces of paper to drop into a box, which will later be opened by the SBR family and prayed through, and at which folks can come to receive prayer in real-time. he had a steady little stream of men come to sit with him, to talk, and to pray. my old pal Derek (alias Green Mile) met tim and upon learning he was my husband, told tim that he’d like to come to our house and make us a meal one day.
yesterday afternoon, after the Nitty Gritty meeting with Tony and all the SBR interns, charla walked with me to our credit union so i could get a rent check made, and we walked and talked all the way back to our house where she came in for tea. she was my first tea guest. and this is one of the reasons i’m so happy to be back: the nearness of charla and the rest of this family.and i love it because of people like marcy, who is also new to the neighborhood, but not to this family, and who walks the neighborhod almost daily with her dog mya and sometimes one of her children and always stops in to see how we’re doing in our house projects.
this morning was the first Intern Breakfast of the season. there we all were: jordan, coop, charla, paula, chelsea, tim, me, and all the tenderos (we are missing danmike, who is in scotland, and charis, who had to go to work). to look around the table at these faces, and to laugh together at classic neighborhood stories, and to share tony’s frittatas and jenn’s homemade granola… well, i’m home. the faces around the table are different ones than a year ago, but i choose them. i choose to be committed to unity, co-laboring, laughter, prayer for, and sharing with these friends. joyfully.
i am looking forward to nestling in close with Jesus this autumn, once the dust has settled and we return to rhythms. i am hungry for Him, but have been far off. i have been so preoccupied with getting things done. it’s time to draw near again. with expectancy instead of fear of disappointment, with belief instead of cynicism. and to ask Him for His dreams for this neighborhood and this community. and to ask Him to live through me with the sort of potency of love and truth that we all need (not just the neighbors, but this family, too).
i plan to bake muffins tomorrow and take them to all the neighbors on our block (yes, the kitchen is completely set up; it’s very sweet.) i plan to pick up my camera again soon and start showing you what my eyes see in this place. i am praying for His choice of one or two other women to get really real with in this season — to mutually nurture and exhort one another.
after prayer walking last night, we made our first dinner here and as we lingered at the table, tim spontaneously stated, “i love the richness of our new life here.” amen. we don’t have to go far to find our mission field, he said, and we have these quality relationships right around the corner.
ps: there is mint growing in our back yard. and a raspberry bush from the neighbor’s, which spills over to our yard. steve told me there’s a pear tree in the alley behind Family Pantry, too. sweet.