Thursday, August 26, 2010
Yesterday was a long one. I had a dozen errands to run (I'm not exaggerating), so I filled up the water bottles, packed our lunches and grabbed some CDs for the road. We wove our way around Clark County, occasionally hitting our destinations on time, but mostly running late. By the time we got to Bethie's gym class, I was down to only two kids in the car, both of whom held melting milkshakes. Schoolhouse Rock songs were stuck in my head, I was hot, and I was starting to feel carsick.
It was about this time that Little Miss Avery Kate developed a look on her face. A look that spoke volumes. Volumes as in, "Uh-oh . . . I guess I don't have to go potty anymore . . . ." Miss Kate was in need of a change of clothes. As luck would have it, the kids had just cleaned -- and vacuumed, bless their hearts -- the van, so there was no chance of me finding a stray article of clothing wadded conveniently under a seat. I toyed with the idea of dressing her in a Trader Joe's bag, but decided against it.
So I shooed Bethie into her class and whisked Avery back to the van. I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do, so I just started to drive. It didn't take long, though, before I instinctively veered toward my friend's house. Annie lives only minutes from the gym, and I knew that she would happily provide something more practical than a paper bag. I walked up the front steps and the door swung open. Her bright smile welcomed us as I made known the reason for our unexpected visit. She invited us in and ran upstairs to grab some clothes.
Once Avery was comfortable, I prepared to head back out into my whirling day. But Annie stopped me with one simple question: "Would you like a cup of tea?" As much as I wanted to stay, I hesitated. I didn't want to intrude. I was in rush mode and couldn't stop. I looked at the clock and knew I had only a few minutes to spare. She, too, was on her way out. "I have a pot all ready," she offered temptingly. It was all the encouragement I needed. I smiled with gratitude and sank my weary body into the kitchen chair. Avery, thrilled, dashed off to find the cats.
Now, it always amazes me how much conversation can be crammed into 30 minutes. It's remarkable really. But Annie and I managed to cover quite a few topics in our given time. We laughed, we groaned, we raised our eyebrows, we sighed, and we laughed some more. I finally looked at the clock once again and knew it was time to leave. Avery released the cats, I thanked my friend for sharing her time and her quiet (her kids were gone for the afternoon), and we parted ways.
As I drove from there, my heart was filled with a refreshing peace -- a peace that was much needed in my day. I knew it was partly from the opportunity to sit for a minute and calm myself amid the rush. But it was more than that. I realized that this spontaneous time with my friend had filled me with peace because she had welcomed me just as Jesus would have done.
I reflected on the actions that took place during our brief visit and really, they mirrored the actions of her Savior. There was nothing contrived, nothing artificial. Just genuine friendship. She welcomed me with open arms and a warm smile. She met my physical needs. She gave me her time. She gave me words of encouragement. She listened. She made me laugh. She shared meaningful verses from her well-worn Bible. And in so doing, she moved in me the desire to seek a deeper relationship with my heavenly Father.
Back at the gym, I loaded up the girls and my day whirled on. I had several more stops to make. The temperature was rising and dinnertime was fast approaching. The girls were tired and I knew that we had miles to go before I could rest. But even so, my heart was at peace. Thirty minutes with a child of God has a way of doing that.
Mary Cassatt's "Five O'Clock Tea"