High Calling

Yesterday I crossed into delicious comfort over another family's threshold, into the home of one of my girlfriends. Toys were scattered under foot, fruit was being chopped on the kitchen bench and a glossy fat cat wound round my legs. There was a warm, friendly chaos that bubbled around me, as our preschoolers chased each other in welcome, and other friends arrived spilling laughter and hugs while the coffee machine burbled and hissed.

And then turning, I saw it.

At the end of the room, a linen covered table stood in a patch of morning sunlight. It was set with scalloped china tea cups and a bunch of ruffled rosebuds, plates of dainty treats, fruit and cheese. And a gift wrapped in silvery blue paper was propped against a teapot. All for me.

I stood still in quiet surprise.
This is the home of a girl who has just had, only days ago, her third baby. She now has three small sons and lives in a world of trains, Lego and plastic swords. She is the one who needs nurturing.
And yet, she called other special women in my life, opened up her home. Took out her grandmother's china and cut up home baking. In between newborn feeds and kindergarten drop offs, she set a table with feminine delight and created a space to honour me.

A part of me retreated to watch the scene unfold. Watched myself smile and be led over the toy field to the far end of the family room. Watched as I was seated in the puddle of sun and provided a cup of tea.

I registered that the faraway part of me had begun to feel emotional at this outpouring of love.

My outward shell remained alert and responded; I conversed, opened presents and sipped tea. All the while the inner me swam in deep shafts of liquid, kicking through sensations that were nearly overwhelming. The simple beauty of that autumn sunlight as it shone through the dancing leaves outside, and burst onto the table was reaching a crescendo in my artist brain. I was transfixed by the neat soldiers of biscotti and the sagging bloom of the brie. The grapes and pineapple glistened with fascinating juice and the teapot spouted mesmerising wreathes of steam. I struggled to stay coherent. To talk of girlie things when what I wanted, really wanted, was to break apart and somehow find a pathway to the delight I could see but not fully express. I wanted my camera, to snap and hold the light so that later, alone, I could re-live the colour of love and digest it.

The artist in me had to wait for expression and then, when we looked back together, the outside me and the inside me, we remembered again and agree on what we believe.

It is all one life, this twisted skein of self-thread. Our experiences knit and loop together, the fragile, the sorrow and the joy. When we live only skimming the surface of our reality, dividing our thoughts and tasks into layers of relevance, we can miss the undercurrent of meaning and connection. We drop stitches. We come undone.

How we view ourselves and others, and how we let the significance of ordinary actions carry the weight of foreverness can be powerful. My friend, in her uncomplicated way, extended the natural arms of true relationship. By doing so, in the meeting place between her role as a friend and that as a minister of love, I found myself dropped smack-bang into a sea of blessing.

Living simply myself as a mother and friend, I see no distinction between the depth of calling and the reigns of duty. The lines blur until there are none; until each word, each smoothed brow, each hug and gift and call is merely another drop in the flow of this thing we do called life. Love flows through relationship, and I believe it is the greatest conduit of the divine that there is.

I have joined an online community of similar minded people who say this: "We believe God cares about our daily work. That’s why HighCallingBlogs.com is a network of personal websites focused specifically on the intersection of faith and work."

It is where I will remember when I am tempted to be swamped by the common, that this unconscious act of breathing and heart-beating holds in each moment, each and every moment, a deeper meaning. And when I work with counselling others, we will pause to let the invisible become apparent and will grow together in the pursuit of freedom.

Tiny things can have a monumental effect on the destiny of other people as well as yourself. What happens at home behind closed doors, at work or at church, still carries the same exquisite value of importance. And importance does not tend to wear fancy clothing, travel first class or carry a microphone.
On the contrary, I find the most significant moments are often the tender ones we can overlook or take for granted.
May you each drink deep of love today.

sarah  – (May 2, 2010 at 8:21 AM)  

how beautiful - your experience, your thoughts, and the way you express them. High Calling is lucky to have you. :-)

paige  – (May 2, 2010 at 11:12 PM)  

wow, that is beautiful amy

so glad you were blessed & felt loved
& she sounds amazing too

Anonymous –   – (May 3, 2010 at 1:25 PM)  

As Content Editor for Family/Parenting at HighCallingBlogs, I'm delighted to welcome you! We're so glad you've joined our network.

The simple, elegant, yet everyday hospitality your friend showed you in the midst of her busy household is the same kind of virtual hospitality I hope we can show each other somehow through HighCallingBlogs. You have done this yourself, it seems, inviting us to join you at your friend's table through your gift of description.

And I love your conclusion:

"Tiny things can have a monumental effect on the destiny of other people as well as yourself...I find the most significant moments are often the tender ones we can overlook or take for granted."

May I never take for granted those tender moments...

Marcus Goodyear  – (May 4, 2010 at 2:15 AM)  

I'm with Ann. Great post. (I especially love the biscotti soldiers.) And you really convey the sense of whole-life integration that is so needed in the Christian faith.

What we do matters--wherever we are, whatever we are doing.

L.L. Barkat  – (May 4, 2010 at 3:20 AM)  

Welcome to the Network. :)

Gorgeous photos!

Sailor and Co  – (May 4, 2010 at 2:16 PM)  

That is WONDERFUL that they did that for you. Teary eyes just imagining it.

Kelly Langner Sauer  – (May 6, 2010 at 9:00 AM)  

oh, so fun! welcome! I'm SO glad to see you here!

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