Even though it seems idyllic at times, most of the time, it’s not easy to rearrange your life in a new place. “Nesting” might be an apt word to describe what I have been attempting to do. I remember many years ago and many times since, when I wrote those lists of what I wanted in my life, a “welcoming home” was always included.
I’m not very good at entertaining, the kind where you actually invite people over ahead of time. I like for people just to stop by. Mitch continually reminds me that people don’t do that anymore. But I have hope in the new house that both will happen without concern about what we eat, where we sit, or even what is said.
Many say they will come visit here and so I’m attempting to build a nest that will be comfortable and welcoming. The guest room has new bedding and towels, an attached bathroom and I can get from my own bedroom to the kitchen without passing by the guest room. All those things seem to say welcome and comfortable.
The notion of “welcome” is not just for guests and extends to Mitch and me too, I hope. I’m old enough to stop saying I’m going to have an instant hot water pot…someday. I have one now. We sat on our covered front porch tonight and watched the rain—another someday event realized.
We’ve met more neighbors in the few weeks we’ve been here than our last two house living experiences combined. Blackberry cake, lemon pound cake, and cold drinks complete with glasses and ice cubes have shown up at our door. There is a man who has taken our trashcan to the street and returned it to the garage every week since our arrival.
And basically, I just had to show up.
The odd thing is that just this morning I was wondering about God’s presence in this new house. I feel like I’ve been so focused on things that don’t really matter– new things for every room, arranging and rearranging, pondering colors and shapes of the welcome– rather than in nurturing that relationship.
And just as I was typing the neighbor news paragraph I realize again, I have been so fixed on striving to create a welcome to come in time, that I have missed the welcome I’ve encountered.
In Longing for Home, Frederick Buechner writes about the disciples encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24.
I believe that although the two disciples did not recognize Jesus on the road to Emmaus, Jesus recognized them, that he saw them as if they were the only two people in the world. And I believe that the reason why the resurrection is more than just an extraordinary event which took place some two thousand years ago and then was over and done with is that, even as I speak these words and you listen to them, he also sees each of us like that. In this dark world where you and I see so little because of our unrecognizing eyes, he, whose eye is on the sparrow, sees each one of us… I believe that whether we recognize him or not, or believe in him or not, or even know his name, again and again he comes and walks a little way with us along whatever road we’re following. And I believe that through something that happens to us, or something we see, or somebody we know—who can ever guess how or when or where? – he offers us, the way he did at Emmaus, the bread of life, offers us a new hope, a new vision of light that not even the dark world can overcome.
Even though my gaze has been averted by material distractions in search of real welcome, God’s presence has come and walked a little way on this road —in sweet morsels of cake and care—the bread of life. No special dishes required.