It started small, and grew into a gathering that filled our home with love and laughter. Rich and Sharon wanted to see Carly and Gabby while they were home. Rob and Jenny called to ask if they could stop by after their weekly date. Mom (Patty Grandma to Gabby) loves to hang out with her family so we invited her to stay awhile. Sarah came with her parents, and Matt left a party for awhile to say hey to everyone...
Envision a family holiday gathering. People arrive at different times. Conversations are relaxed and natural. Curious questions abound, "Hey, how did it go with...Did you know that...I heard that you..."
A fast forward film of such a gathering would show people moving around to sit in different places and talk to different people. Relational connections in our gathering were fluid and fun. I especially liked "showing" Matthew to the door ala Michael Strahan's greeting of Donovan McNabb! (click to watch)
I think most of us checked something off our "bucket list" the other night. We laughed until we cried, and then laughed some more. Carly queried Rob (click here then scroll down) on and off for half an hour about his work as a funeral director. Her questions were serious, and Rob's answers were alternately touching and hysterical. What I liked best about the whole sequence was that there was "relational space" for them to have the interaction and for the rest of us to be blessed and entertained. Rob shared his heart about deaths that personally touched him and how this work/ministry gives him opportunity to serve families with his God-given gifts. Later in the weekend I asked Carly if such work intrigued her, "Yeah, maybe." All that from an informal, relaxed relational interaction.
Then Richard was a good sport to allow stories from the period of his marital separation. Thank GOD that is all behind all of us who were involved in it. The way God prepared Rich and Sharon for this was not lost on our gathering either. I dare say the youth (and even some of the adults) left w/ a new benchmark regarding Godly pursuit of relational healing, and persistence in His plan and purpose for our lives! Thanks Rich.
Why did I want to write this? Because I want such gatherings to be multiplied in my life, and yours. It was an abundantly life-giving time that could have lasted into the wee hours. It was fun, funny, empowering, uplifting, encouraging, loving, etc; all the things that life amidst the fellowship of believers can be!
I like the way that Wayne Jacobsen and Tom Wymore talk about such gatherings of believers in their blogs, and the way Wayne describes it in Jake's book.
All the best as you too seek to live in the midst of life-giving relationships with God and each other!
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