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“So, how are the parking spaces working out for everybody?”

Sounded like a good ice-breaker to me…and I relaxed a little in my chair at the thought of being able to answer honestly with my old standby: “Just fine…”  We all kind of go dumb (as in silent), for some reason, when we convene for our Sunday morning house meetings. Suddenly, everybody’s “just fine” with “nothing much going on really.” Nobody wants to go first, and the air turns thick with nervousness, even in the company of two of the kindest, most compassionate and accepting people we know. Vulnerability proves challenging still, even after a year and a half of living together.

What a relief to have another practical issue to address. Nothing serious that required a contract or anything like the cat issue. In fact, I didn’t even realize we had a parking issue, but thank goodness for it nonetheless, if it takes the focus off more uncomfortable issues for the moment, and helps us see just how simple a solution can be. In our minds, nothing’s ever quite that simple, it seems…so we go around trying to pretend everything’s “just fine” while our insides tell us something different and our thoughts get all tangled up with the fear that comes with pretending. And before we know it, we’ve lost sight of the truth again, and exchanged it for lies. It’s a vicious cycle we’re learning to break, yet even in this seemingly benign question, there was the slight discomfiture of our insecure wonderings. Was it me? Did I park wrong? I bet it was me.

But parking really isn’t the issue. It just provides the illustration for what we’d like to share with you this week. Nothing more was said about it directly other than “the lines are just to help you aim,” punctuated with a boyish giggle that interrupted the negative thoughts recycling in our heads. Stan’s wisdom often comes packaged this way, in little quips. Metaphors and humor rolling off his tongue, mixed with a kindness that always marks true wisdom. And that’s how “lines” and “something to aim at” came to be the theme of the day, running through the rest of the meeting right into the Sunday sermon. It’s amazing how often this happens. Every single time, as a matter of fact…and we’ll share more about that in future posts, so stay tuned.

For now, three grateful women would simply like to say thank you to a man who has, and continues to overcome incredible obstacles every day of his life, and then comes home in the evening and on weekends caring about ours because we’re a part of his household. And from the overflow of what God has put in his heart for women, he and his family share their lives and life lessons with us as we learn, slowly but surely, to believe for ourselves what he and Cindy hold onto knowing for us in the meantime: Anything is possible. We can do this.

And on a Sunday afternoon in late July, a simple solution becomes a family painting project that helps all of us see our place more clearly, aim a little easier, and live a little closer to each other. No shame. No condescension. Just the understanding, wisdom, and humor of a kind-hearted man and his family who walk with a kind and loving God, breaking through our shame shells and reminding us that he’s in this with us with all his heart. And painting a few lines on the driveway is just one of his ways of showing us.

Love Julie