Wednesday, July 17, 2013

what we want

This is what I want. I want a hot summer evening when the breeze picks up just as the sky is turning pink and chicken is being pulled off the grill. I’ll pour the wine, you toss the salad. We’ll serve the children first at their own table and they will run off to catch fireflies in the yard as we begin our adult meal on the deck. Just for this night, the food is good, the children all are happy and occupied and we will enjoy a leisurely meal and uninterrupted conversation. We are dreaming here.
After dinner we push back our plates and magically, there will be cheesecake. We will say oh no, no, no, we shouldn’t, well okay, and we will pass forks and pour coffee. 

And then the night will be getting late but the conversation will be getting good, and so we’ll keep talking. The kids will keep playing and we will dive right into all the controversial topics, way too late at night, and talk and argue and only come up for air to pour more coffee. We will get honest, and speak those questions we live with and walk around. There won’t be answers but only me too,” all around, and this somehow will be all we really are looking for.
Finally when the children begin to grumble we will carry them inside and wash their feet, and say good-night. Yours will fall asleep in the car on the way home and we will carry ours upstairs and tuck them into bed and come back down to wash the dishes. We will be unable to sleep from the coffee, but really more from the conversation.
Because this is what I really want out of a warm summer evening with friends: good conversation. It is one of the greatest things in life.

This summer has come with the gift of some long, honest, meaningful conversations with friends and family, and I love nothing more. Sometimes with young children good conversation- well, even complete sentences- can be in short supply, we can go days without it and so I’ve learned to treasure these moments all the more dearly. Because when it happens, when people can come together and talk honestly, about things that matter, the moment sparkles. Like the fireflies our children chase in the dark, these moments of understanding and connection are worth chasing.

I sit on our deck drinking coffee with old friends who I haven’t seen in years, or at the park watching the kids play with the friends I see every day, every time I come away thinking how very much alike we are, regardless of our differences. I see what a hard battle we each are fighting, in our own daily ordinary lives, and though we are making different choices and have different circumstances we all want the same thing- to live this one precious life well.

My friend who is a single mom and one of the most courageous people I know; my friends who live in Africa and my friends in Haiti, my Canadian friends, friends with kids or no kids, friends who work or quit working or are going back to work, my friends in Indiana, Washington, Alaska, in small towns  or cities; we all are trying our best to get this right- this thing of living.

We want to live a life that matters, but we’re still  trying to figure out what that means. We want to follow God and we are still willing- wherever whatever whenever . . . but we are quieter, now, a little slower to speak. And we are reaching the age now of being just old enough to be skeptical, but still hopeful. We have had opportunity by now to regret some things, or a lot of things, enough to sober us but not to defeat us.  We wrestle with these questions because the truth is we don’t know what we are doing, for certain, and it’s good to know we aren’t alone.

When we can really get to the heart of things, almost always the thing we find is a pulse that sounds very familiar. People are people, we are all such a mess of flaws and good intentions, and when we talk the flaws are so much less and the good so much brighter. It seems many of our differences and conflict could be healed with good conversation.

I’m pretty convinced that what the world needs most is a grill and a picnic table, some fresh summer vegetables, and fireflies. This, and a few long days when the whole world isn't so tragically busy. Good conversation can change the world- at least it changes me.


LisaM said...

Third paragraph from the bottom ... "Yes, yes, yes"

great post. keep writing please!

Shannon said...

Wish there were "like" buttons for posts. :)