About two months ago I was invited to a barbecue. The shortened version of the invitation read like this:
Saturday, May 25th
Kathi has plenty of space if anyone wants to sleep over…
As I read this I laughed out loud, my mind began to race and I had to ask myself the question, “Did I know about this? Did I forget this?” I was fairly confident that this was new information to me, as I had no recollection at all of a related conversation (other than “we should have another barbecue…”). I checked my calendar and responded that I would be free and able to attend the barbecue at my house on the 25th. (The one who issued the invitation then sent his first apology, followed by two more apologies… at which point I told him to stop.)
Something about this invitation delighted me, and I’ve come to see it as a gift- a gift given that I receive with deep gratitude. This is evidence of God’s unfailing kindness to a transplanted Californian who longs for connectedness and values deep friendship and misses family.
I am grateful.
I am grateful for friends who invite me to a barbecue at my own house, and know they will be welcome. And Saturday night, as my house was full of people and laughter and friends who stayed, I accepted that moment as a gift to me – God’s unfailing kindness.
My life is full of such gifts:
– A friend in the North who speaks truth to me and gives me hot drinks in a cold house, a bed for the night, and her presence in my life. A gift.
– A two-year-old boy, whose face lights up when he sees me, releases his mum’s hand and trots right over to give me a kiss. A gift.
– Sitting in my back garden when the sun is shining, with a friend who has come by, laughing and talking and crying – alternatively. A gift.
– Standing, digging, planting alone in a garden in the rain and feeling deep joy. A gift.
And I am thankful. I am thankful that when I don’t believe that I am worthy of these gifts, when I don’t believe in the sincerity of the regard I receive or that I am, in fact, delightful – I am thankful that the Holy Spirit teaches me the truth of Jeremiah 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you [to myself] with unfailing kindness…” And when it says, “If you, then… know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11) He is talking about me, His child.
He is inviting me to a barbecue, in my own house – and coming to stay. He is whispering truth to me, and giving me rest and hot drinks in a cold house, and greeting me with delight… and when it rains, He gives me joy.
And, I made pie. Pie should always be shared. People to share pie with. A gift.