Our Last Month Before Leaving

August 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Last night was our final night sleeping at Saint Ann’s. I relished the peace of the church for our time there. It was almost like the old-fashioned notion of going to a sanitarium, the kind in movies with rolling green lawns and luxurious bathrobes. After the last few years, I needed a sanitarium like that. The scars of abuse, the weight of grief, and the stress of needing major change have worn me down. Saint Ann’s has helped me to get my spiritual, mental and emotional feet under me. I’ve never been especially graceful, but I’m in motion.

Kissing the back rail of Saint Ann's to say Thank You

For our last month here we’ll be staying with our friend, Gary, from a local store. When he offered us a place to stay, I was really touched and relieved. He doesn’t really know us, but his kind heart was called to answer our need. I didn’t think we’d have to take him up on his offer, but here we are. I can almost hear that voice talking to me, again.

Gary invited us to lunch on Sunday to show us his place and share a meal. Communion. I think we were all a little nervous at first. We only know each other from talking at the store. Gary was putting food on the grill for us. I watched him cut potatoes and shuck corn, spreading them lavishly with butter before putting them on the fire. He had a package of hotdogs thawing in the sink. “I’ll let those thaw a while,” he said.

A little while later, a covered dish appeared. “What’s that?”, my little one asked. “That’s for your mom,” he told him. In the container was a t-bone steak that he had marinated for me. He served this luxurious meal to me and took nothing for himself. I realized the hotdogs would be his own dinner, later. This humble man had given the best he had to offer to us and had taken nothing for himself.

While we were there, he opened his cupboards one by one, showing us all he had. They were filled to the edge. They couldn’t hold one more box, bag or can. In the refrigerator were two unopened gallons of milk, one regular and one chocolate. He had grapes and bananas, too. At the time I was so overwhelmed with the uncertainty of staying with a virtual stranger that I wasn’t even able to really understand what I was seeing. Later that night, I woke suddenly. It was for us. He was extending to us the fullest measure of his generosity and grace, setting a place for us at his table, offering us communion.

Last night was our first night in this new place. Gary’s home is comfortable and cozy, a very inviting and homey place to be. We went to bed before he got home from work, but when I woke at 1:30 to use the bathroom I found him in the living room watching television. On the counter was a package of goldfish crackers with a note on for my son. He had parked one of my babe’s little cars on top. In every elegant part of his gesture there was love and warmth.

Sunday’s sermon is still resonating in our lives. The warmth of companionship, communion, has been offered to us by someone whose every action toward us has felt like the loving hand of God moving in our lives. Even in uncertainty, We moved forward in faith, believing that God would lead us to a safe place to gather ourselves before getting on the road. God’s love touches us through our friend’s every gesture. His kindness and humility are like a warm embrace, a kiss on our cheeks that wishes us bon voyage. The message that started with a tree is still being spoken and we are listening with gratitude to every word.