There is a pile of shoes at the bottom of our stairs - some white Nikes, a pair of Crocs, and various other pair contribute to the discarded and jumbled mess. Another knock at the door, to which our beagle, Penny, responds with a howl and a sprint to answer. The teenager who comes in greets our furry girl with a head scratch, sheds his shoes, adds them to the heap and bounds upstairs.
I round the corner to the kitchen to pop more popcorn. Penny follows. I hear the kids holler greetings to their friend. It gets quiet a moment, then raucous laughter fills the house.
A little later in the evening, a herd of footsteps pounds down the stairs and suddenly we have a swarm of kiddos around our kitchen bar – inhaling sweet and salty snacks, filling their cups, still laughing and talking and checking the scores of the game on TV. They settle in to lounge around the couch and start a movie. I savor the gift of laughter that fills our home.
It's well before 5:00pm, but darkness is already beginning to descend as I pull into the parking lot. The steady rain of the day has quieted to a drizzle. I gingerly open my car door, duck my head, pull my jacket close around me and walk as quickly as I can. The puddles reflect the city lights and the warm glow from the windows of the coffee shop overflow onto the wet sidewalk.
I fling the door open to the hustle and bustle of the full restaurant and greet one of my friends who is already in line. We hover near a table with patrons that look ready to leave. With smiles and exchanged pleasantries, we take their places as soon as they stand. Our other two friends join us within a few minutes. For the next hours, we catch up with all that has happened in the last weeks. We grieve hardship together and laugh at the moments of lighthearted joy the Lord has sprinkled into this season of our lives.
Soon, we reach the bottoms of our cups of creamy caffeinated goodness and our sweet treats are nothing but a few crumbs left on our plates. We bundle back up to trek back to our cars in the cold. It’s started to rain again and one of my friends offers to share her umbrella. We link arms, step over puddles and wish we’d chosen more weather appropriate shoes. I savor the gift of friends who walk along the motherhood path with me.
I sit, coffee cup in hand, at my parent’s kitchen bar enjoying the quiet moment of a holiday morning. To my right, my dad sits, eating cereal, and Mom is in the throws of food prep for the day ahead. I think, perhaps, I’ve been rambling on and on for about an hour. I’m not sure what all I’ve said, except it feels good to say it all in person. Dad asks questions and Mom adds a story or two. Just a few feet away, my son’s teenage frame takes up the entire length of the couch, his sock feet crossed and his nose in a thick novel of dystopian adventure. He barely pays attention to us until Mom pulls chocolate cake out of the freezer for later. He closes his book and joins us.
The morning sun stretches into their kitchen and a day full of time to visit stretches before us. While we don’t have much planned for the day, I revel in each moment I get to spend with them. I savor the quiet moments to connect with my family.
In Psalm 16, David declares, “I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.’ The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!... The land you have given is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!”
That phrase resonates within me. Every good thing… every good friend… every shared laugh… every sip of coffee with friends… every moment spent with family.
As I walk into this new year that has already felt as heavy as years before with hard news and difficult moments, I feel the Lord whisper, “Savor the good things that come from me. There will be hard moments, but you’ll find me when you look.”
Dear Lord, Sometimes I am blinded to your good gifts by the hurt in the world around me. Open my eyes to see those moments for what they are and my heart to receive them with joy and deep gratitude. Allow me strength to savor each one. -Amen