Greetings from the campus of Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, where my husband and I, along with a staff team of about 25 young (and some old) adults, have moved into the dorm apartments that will be our home for the next week. We’re here for CrossWalk, and we must really love it, because many of us have been coming back year after year for almost twenty years now.
Last December, while away on a marriage retreat with twelve or so other couples from church we discovered that a new family in our congregation had to call an ambulance to take their three-year-old to the hospital due to breathing difficulty. We knew they had no friends or family in the area, since they had recently moved from another state. It was late, the evening session was about to start, and the hospital was an hour and a half away.
It was 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning that we got the call from a fearful husband letting us know that his wife was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital with pain and hemorrhaging in her sixth month of pregnancy. Since the first worship service wouldn’t begin until 9:15 a.m., we were out the door and off to what we knew could be a very difficult hospital visit.
The expanse of the Grand Canyon. The vulnerability of a newborn baby. The rocky coast of Maine. Mary Poppins on Broadway. Sunset over the Bosporus.
Captivating. That’s how I would describe these things. Each one meeting the definition: Attracting and holding the attention or interest of, as by beauty or excellence; enchant.
“I threw on my sweats and got here as fast as I could. This is my favorite event at church, and I wasn’t going to miss it!”
That’s what Jane blurted out breathlessly one Saturday morning at a gathering we call Mug & Muffin. She had gotten up early with her three little boys but in the distractions of their morning routine had completely forgotten about this semi-annual women’s event. When she finally remembered, she dropped everything, explained things to her husband, said she’d be back in a couple of hours and dashed out of the house.
Somehow, as a family of five (with a steady stream of houseguests), we’ve managed to live in a house with only one bathroom for over sixteen years. In 2018 we decided to change that. It wasn’t really a resolution for the new year, but it was a goal of ours to transform a dingy basement closet into a full bathroom. A plumber (Ben), an electrician (Caleb), and a carpenter (Mike) worked diligently for about a month to turn a tiny storage closet with gigantic, seventy year old cast iron pipes and rotting wood into a beautiful new space. We were in awe of their skill.
A friend called today. The first words out of her mouth described the death by overdose of her close friend’s 23 year old son - a bright and capable college senior.
Our conversation was interrupted by another call. It my friend’s own daughter, actively choosing rebellion against God and experiencing a great deal of stress because of it. She wanted counsel, but not godly counsel.