they sit in a circle on the path outside my door.
looking intently at rubber mice and plastic rocks and lizards who they wish were real.
and i snap a picture because it's a moment that can't be pulled back and so i freeze it in my hands and beg softly for time to slow down...
and they came before dinner, all piling out of their van, spilling into our home for 18 short hours that would never be long enough.
later, when children were sleeping and husbands were talking, we sat down again, across from each other in a coffee shop down the road.
when i was reminded of that afternoon when he was 5 months in my belly, when i was already changing and stretching and preparing for a miracle...
and we sat across from each other not knowing what to say except for the words that heal and change a person and birth a miracle of it's very own...
because that's what we are, the two of us.
our two families.
only He could come in at just the right moment, when the words are the hardest and most painful,
when bearing down and pushing past the years of pain and misconceptions and hurt is the last and only thing you want to do.
and He leans into the mess and cradles life in the middle of agony and exhilaration,
and only He can clean it off and sew it up and make it all new.
i watched them, the ones who are coming after us...
as they ran and yelled and laughed and climbed and hid.
i watched 8 children unknowingly play in air charged with redemption and grace.
they know nothing of the years that hope waited, hidden and unexpected; as it grew us both and stretched and changed us.
to them, their mamas are friends and their daddies are buds and that is how it is.
but it isn't how it always was...
miracles are toted as a thing of the past,
old testament dust and new testament stories.
but oh, if you could have sat here with us! if you could have sat at my table and joined us for coffee. if you could have stood under the cherry trees and listened to the air filled with joy,
you would have witnessed a miracle that continues to live and move and breathe.
one that never stops catching me off guard in the smallest of moments:
the one who i thought was my greatest enemy (and i'm fairly certain the feeling went both ways)...
has become one of my dearest friends.
the boughs hang heavy, deep red orbs cling in delicious clusters.
i am surrounded by rows and rows of trees with fruit ready to be harvested...
and in the patches of sun, surrounded by this, i whisper thanks...
*975 rain clouds
*976 cool breezes
*977 sitting in the open air, learning about Him
*978 old patchwork quilts and the shade of a tree
*979 a safe heart to share the hurts of day
*980 a safe place for my children to be
*981 dreaming with him
*982 pedicures on the lawn
*983 quiet time
*984 our church family
*985 feeling known
*986 opening the door and seeing friends
*987 the never-ending wonder of our friendship
*988 the red lettering and that ol' alberta rose of a license plate from home...
*989 whispering good-byes through tears.