Six years ago today…
It was mid-morning, and I had just run my daughters to Bible study.
The boys were underfoot, as usual wanting something to eat. I remember feeling full with to-dos for the day, managing details of an upcoming vacation, in general just bustling around.
The phone rang.
I asked my eight-year old to answer. As I overheard his struggle to ‘please take a message’, we exchanged tasks. I took the call, he took his brother to find a snack.
It was our house landline, not my cell. I wondered just who and what lay ahead, and if I should have released the whole thing to voicemail. I typically did.
Daniele? It’s Jed.
I paused. Jed from church?
In 2014 we were the pastor’s family, for over eleven years at the time. Church-related calls to our home was nothing out of the ordinary. As I listened to this young adult share his story… I felt my mind attempting sequential sense.
His dad. Something happened. CPR. Paramedics. Please pray.
And my information-gathering and calming effort: Your Mom? Which hospital? Yes, I’ll pray. Yes, I’ll tell Pastor. But it was the beginning of things turned terribly upside down. Calm felt far, far out of reach.
In a short space of time, I entered a woman’s story of pain and loss.
Maybe the better way to say it is I was invited into her family’s story.
In the hospital room, in her home, planning the funeral, attending basic needs… then and for years to come, the invitation came again and again to listen, to weep with, to hold silence, to love, to make space for distress.
Over those pastoral years, similar invitations followed numerous other difficult and trying experiences for the women in my community…
….so many hopes deferred. Multiple hopes lost.
This week as I opened doors for reflecting on our stories, I thought of this day six years ago, the woman and women I journeyed with in that life season, the ones I walk with now.
And I wondered how we invite others into our stories. Or not.
Sometimes it feels simpler to shut our heart doors, allowing no one in and nothing out. Yep, it’s often easier and even quite manageable — at first.
Eventually this protective measure wears thin, as in really thin, and doesn’t serve us well.
We are created for holy connection, sacred interdependence.
I am much more aware of the need to practice the presence of people: to invite close friends into the sometimes messy chapters of my story… and welcome invitations for light-hearted fun too.
So in this spirit I encourage you today.
Crack the door open a little wider, a little broader. Okay, maybe a lot wider! Respond YES to a connection invitation and/or intentionally invite another into your journey.
I know it’s a risk. And…I hope it goes well.
Grace to you.