When I was in college, a couple that my family knew relentlessly asked me to come live with them. All of their kids were out of the house, and they had a lot of land and horses, and I couldn’t fathom why they wanted me to come, but I wanted to so badly. For a year and a half, they asked me. Then one day, I called, terrified, and asked if they were being serious when they asked. They said yes, and I told them I wanted to take them up on their offer.
I only lived with those friends for a semester, but I learned a good deal about grace and love and being together from them. It seems weird, even, to say that I “learned” from them. To say that I experienced love and grace fits better. I’m still learning.
What Chuck and Vicki had to give was time, and I couldn’t believe it. I was actually quite terrified of their love, honestly, and so I only lasted in their house for a semester. I have long had a fear of being a burden, and living with them was real practice: the beginning of a long journey of learning to depend on other people, to let them care for me, to not try to completely care for myself and others.
After I moved out, I started nannying for a family with infant quadruplets and a toddler. Vicki came to help me feed the babies one day, which was a huge gift of presence. One strange day that I had off, I asked Vicki if I could come hang out with her. She sat on her porch for more than 2 hours just listening and talking with me. The gift of her presence and listening was more than I could have asked for, and so rare in my life. I think it’s rare in our culture today, even in the church. We are so busy with our own lives, we drive everywhere, money seems tight, we are anxious and we zone out on our phones and computers. We don’t want to risk relationships, we don’t want to risk discovering something about ourselves that seems to be too much for us or for others. It’s scary to just sit and be with people, sans cell phones, sans TV.
My friend Liz blogs and is good at leaving posts and conversations open without a bow at the end. I’m trying to get better at that. I suck at conclusions. I will close by saying: I want to risk wearing out my welcome, I want to risk discovering others and letting others discover me. I’m thankful for friends who go deeper with me.