After an hour or so of conversation I finally remembered to ask her name.
As we helped to steady toddlers climbing up slides we talked. About having three children, husbands working hard and long hours, the surprise realities of staying at home with young children and the tug and pull of career choices. The flow of words tumbled easily along shared experiences and I remembered we are all so much the same.
The stream of conversation amidst sliding and swinging found its way to deeper things. Spiritual things. Real things. Soul things.
I didn’t know her name yet but I knew she was growing, discovering, wading through this thing we call Christianity.
She didn’t know my name yet but she knew I was learning about finding what’s real. My distaste for the fake and pretend and measured.
No make-up, no cute outfits. Nothing to measure between two women except words that kept coming.
I kept hearing my story, except it was her story.
And I didn’t even know her name.
Women rarely say who they really are, who they’ve been, who they would like to be so clearly to one another without a trace of measure. Secret filtering and comparison.
He bubbled up into the spaces of our words. Because at the heart of the matter, every matter, He’s there.
Only a few minutes before Leighton was ready to head home did I finally laugh and ask her name. The irony downright funny to me. Sure, ladies love to talk, but rarely do you have such deep yet refreshing conversation with a total stranger who doesn’t feel at all like a stranger.
Leighton and I climbed the hill to our house. She’s ready for lunch and I’m remembering how He said He would never leave us nor forsake us. I remember Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun.
And I think this. I think Jesus is absolutely present in our lives. I think He finds ways to tell us we are not alone, we are rather well-known and safer than we think. There is no uncommon experience in our pain, insecurity, regret, hopes, joys and fears. Nor in our deep thirst for a God who is real and true and willing to accept us at our deepest level.
There is tender grace in transparency. A sweet communion in me-too living.
Today I met someone new but recognized the One who never leaves me, never abandons me, never dismisses me.
I do think it’s true. He never leaves us, never forsakes us. Never stops reaching out for us, telling us, showing us how deeply He cares. How great is the attention He pays to every detail of our experience here on the earth He created. We are not alone in our travels, in our victories and defeats. We live and breathe and move inside the panorama of His glory, His presence, His power. He moves and speaks inside our story if we’ll be brave enough to tell it.
He is a bestselling author, a surprise-ending kind of God. He offers what we crave but fear is too good to be true.
Unmeasured. Unrelenting. Unreservedly. Unexplainable.
He is the echo, the surround sound, the vibration in our story. Jesus is unfolding inside every step, every word, every plan and comprehension. The only measure that can ever truly be is the inability to measure His love, His faithfulness, His compassion and mercy.
On our past, our present, our future.
On the playground.