Friday, February 19, 2010

conversation stopper

We got back from London on a Wednesday.
Thursday morning I dropped Malachai and Josu off at school, and raced to the pasteleria. I wanted to make sure to catch Sonia and Ana for a coffee

I wanted to see them because I knew they would ask me about our trip to London, and I was excited to tell them about our traveling adventures, and about my little sister Abi's sweet, cozy hospitality in her teeny-tiny home (see Selma licking up uncle Nathaniel's world famous hot coco from the hallway floor - - below).

I was excited (and a little bit nervous, but mostly just excited) to tell them about the four hour meeting that Joshua and I had had with Mike and Richard - - good men who are serving and leading the church in England, and who are looking for help to do this.
I was excited to tell Ana and Sonia about the church that these guys had described for us - - an established, commuter church on the edge of an estate (that's fancy, British talk for a housing project) that has slowly, over the years begun to see the neighborhood change - - fill with immigrants from Asia, India and Pakistan. The church is interested in reaching out to and loving their neighborhood;
but they don't really know how,
and they are kind of afraid,
and they need someone to equip them for ministry, and to give them a vision for action.

And I wanted to tell Ana and Sonia how very much this excites me and Joshua - - we love the church! We believe that the great purpose of the church in this world is to love the world around it; we love joining with the church to do this!
That conversation hardly happened; my sweet friends seemed barely interested, and the topic of conversation was quickly changed.

This didn't necessarily surprise me, I guess, but I've been thinking a lot about it, and there are two things that I keep going back to:

1. My greatest passions are not their greatest passions. I talk about these things because God has changed my heart; it's as simple as that.

2. While my Spanish friends have years of experience conversing about where to find the best butcher in town (and countless other helpful, interesting topics),
talk about God, or the church, or anyone's passion for the church loving the world. And I think that partly, they have a hard time talking about these things with me because they're just not used to it.
they don't know what to say,
they don't know what to ask,
so they don't.

I've come to realize that
I need to get used to talking true to my identity with my friends
and they need to get used to hearing about my true identity

how about you?

Monday, February 15, 2010

culture 101

when Jeremiah and Mercy visited this Christmas, we taught them how to sound cultured.
"when you get back to the States" we told them, "don't say 'when we were in Europe' . . . say 'last time we were in Europe . . .'
"and try to fit it into as many conversations as you can" we coached them.

like this:
last time we were in London, Joshua took me to see Wicked at the Apollo theater.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

when we were in London:

Once, not too long ago (last week in fact)
Joshua took me to the British Royal Academy of Music (well, it was Abi and Nathaniel, really, that took the whole family; but Joshua was there)
where we sat on a bench and ate Nigerian goat stew and Brazilian beef sandwiches;
and kissed while an opera singer practiced her scales in the background.
It was spectacular.
Even if your setup can't quite match up (I know, Nigerian goat stew is hard to beat), I highly recommend that you kiss the one you love; every day; several times a day

(and teach your children to cheer for you every time you do)

Friday, February 05, 2010

to London, to London!

I was praying with Malachai in bed last night. Malachai's prayer went on a bit longer than normal;

because he loves talking to God? very possibly.

because he loves talking to God and I was scratching his back at the same time? even more possible.

"please, God" he begged "help tonight be long enough for us to rest really well, but short enough for tomorrow to come really fast"

this morning we're off to London to do some business and (most importantly) to visit Abi and Nathaniel.

(and we're all very excited!)

Monday, February 01, 2010

weekend in review: part three

Sunday night:
The church had come and gone. there were carrot cake crumbs from the Lord's table still on the floor; Brett had stayed for dinner and the dishes were still in the sink, the floor a sticky mess.
It was late, and I was tired.
but I didn't go to bed. Instead, I stayed up a little bit later
and just cleaned.

weekend in review: part two

Saturday morning:
our doorbell rang.
it was our mailman.
the one who we say hi to every day;
the one who pokes his head into the coffee shop to tell us we have (x number of) letters waiting for us in our mail box;
the one we gave Christmas cookies to - - and a beenie on that day when it was snowing and he had no hat.

well, he doesn't normally come up; he usually stays downstairs where the mailboxes are, but on this particular Saturday morning he did - - he came up to tell us that his rout was changing, and that he wanted to say goodbye,
and to assure us that he had briefed the new mailman about how we are an American family that gets all sorts of mail and packages from across the sea, and how we need special looking out for.
I invited him in; of course I invited him in! (and I tried to position him so that he was looking toward the cleanest corner of the kitchen - - kind of like I do with my camera, you know?)
"You are leaving?" we asked him
"We are leaving!" we announced
and then there was a flurry to find paper to exchange addresses and then wishing each other the best, and off he went.
he left and I wrinkled my nose and clenched my fists (it's what I do when I think of something I'm embarrassed about)
and reminded myself of my resolve to keep inviting people in.
every time.
even when it's messy.
every time.

weekend in review: part one

Friday night:
Our friend Brett - - architect extraordinaire - -possibly knows more about architect Richard Neutra's life and work than any other living being on the face of this large planet. seriously.

So, this weekend it was Brett who was put together a public talk to share at our local community center (do you remember? Joshua has done this a couple of times , and so has Rachel) He explained some of Neutra's thoughts on spirituality and the modern man, and presented some of the religious architecture (church building) that was fruit of Neutra's perceptions.

And then after Brett's presentation, there was some round table discussion including two other architects and Rachel who is not an architect, but is a Christian who lives and loves church.
It was all fantastically fascinating and relevant; I wish you had all been there . . .Several of us went out afterward to the place across the street for a drink and a bite to eat. It was there, also, that our kids ran around yelling and chasing each other with wooden swords beneath the warm, humored gazes of all the other Spainish men and women out for something to drink and a bite to eat at 11:00 pm. (oh! Spanish night time culture, how I love you and your tolerance for wild children sometimes!)
At my end of the table we talked about travel plans and how sin, left unchecked can lead to greater sin.
I never did ask Joshua what they talked about at his end of the table.
it's now on my to-do list.
We got home late, and I was tired, so I ignored my crazy, messy house and dragged myself to bed promising myself I would clean it all on Saturday morning.
(sometimes it's just better that way)