Wednesday, May 27, 2015

When you can't own the house on the hill, meet the person who does

Certainly I had no idea words C.S. Lewis used to describe his childhood in the big house his father built would end up being a quirky connection for me from the Lord.

I put Lewis’s sentence on the overhead screen: I am a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences . . . and told the participants in my memoir class to use it as a model to describe a place from their lives.

The room was quiet as a dozen or so heads bent over paper and iPads. As students took turns reading their pieces, we were transported to ocean beaches, arid deserts, exotic cities, and sad farewell places. One woman captured our attention with her nostalgic description of sunsets over long mountain views and generations of family spilling over sweeping lawns. It was so lovely, I asked her where she lived.

“Watson Orchard,” she said.

At which point I squealed and caused every head to look up. “There’s a house in there that I catch a glimpse of as I drive by. It sits up on the ridge. I told my husband if we ever come into money, I’m going to drive right up there and ask the people if they want to sell.”

“That’s my house,” she said. “Come have lunch.”

And so I did. The mountain views and sweeping lawns came complete with a new friend.

It was just one of a handful of glimpses of the Lord’s delight, I’ve received lately. It’s as if God’s telling me to lighten up and feel his pleasure. I can ponder his majesty and plead his favor and praise his glory, but so often I forget to simply enjoy him.

And so he reminds me, like he did last week, that he is also fun.

I was on my way to teach at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, nervous and excited, and wondering how I’d do, and if anyone would take my classes or sit at my table or sign up for my advice, and if they did, would I have any to give them.

My friend Lori Roeleveld was also teaching there for the first time. Lori and I had met six years ago at Blue Ridge. While everyone else was practicing their “elevator pitches” (what you’d tell an editor your book was about in the time it takes an elevator to go up a floor), Lori and I were making an elevator friendship. No matter what building we were in on campus, we would run into each other at the elevator.

As I drove up to the conference, I wondered if I would meet Lori at an elevator this year, but discarded the thought as far-fetched. She was flying in from Rhode Island and I didn’t even know which building we were assigned to. I checked in early, unloaded my car and made my way to the elevator. No one was around, as the few people who had come early were at lunch. I pushed the button for the elevator. The door slid open revealing the lone occupant.

“God’s just showing off,” she said as we rolled into each other’s arms, laughing with the wonder of it all.

Sometimes you just have to stop thinking and Enjoy.

Blessings abundant friends,


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