a couple weeks ago, when Larry was out of town, he gave us some “assignments” for contemplation and reflection. one of them included spending time in various places downtown, observing and attempting to answer the question “the Kingdom of God is like….”
i had the opportunity this weekend to spend 24 hours in the home of my longest running friend (seriously, we’ve been BF since second grade!). A. is happily married to a wonderful man, R., with two beautiful little girls, ages 2 and 5. she is works part-time at FedEx and full-time as wife and mom. her love for her family is both encouraging and inspiration.
i pulled up Sat. eve and she arrived shortly, after a long day at work. we chatted and caught up while she made dinner, and two wildly happy little girls clamoured for our attention. especially mine. the 5-year-old wanted me to sit by her during dinner, but when we sat down i noticed she had stripped down to her underwear. A. just waved her hand, and said it saved their outfits so she was fine with it.
the next morning, i woke when i wanted and began to work on the novel. the house had that feel, that feel of when you’re a kid and your parents have already started the day for you and you can just lazily move about in it. A. came down, groggy and moving slowly into the living room. she said good morning, but curled up on the couch and fell asleep again.
the girls were up shortly after that, curling into the warm spaces of our bodies. we snuggled for awhile before A. got up to make us breakfast. i offered to help, but she insisted that i was a guest and could just relax.
so relax i did. filled my belly with pancakes, took a nice long bath, wrote all afternoon and played with the girls. A. moved about with a certain grace, preparing endless pieces of a meal we would later share for her husband’s birthday dinner with family. she cleaned and cooked and patiently handled her children, all with a love i couldn’t help but sink into.
as i sat in the bathtub, listening to little feet running along the floor below, hearing little voices calling for me, i reflected back on Larry’s assignment, and had an easy answer:
the Kingdom of God is like a warm house, with a patient mom/friend/lover. no one is beyond the reach of her arms, as she gives up her own rest time so that others may relax. who feeds her children before herself. who repairs boo-boos and tickles and watches (endlessly) the things her children want to show her. it is like a house where everyone feels welcome to just be exactly who they are, where they are celebrated just for being alive. neighbors and family alike come in and are welcome and well-fed.