I thank God for the delightful rest at cell group this week; a study book taken to work to read at lunchtime, but forgotten at the office by one too weary to go back for it. It hadn't been read at lunchtime anyway.
And I thank God too, for the conversation that took place instead, around a dinner table. A conversation as important--maybe more so--than the study that we didn't have.
She had knocked on my office door earlier that evening. I was under pressure to complete certain tasks before I left to go home; tired and stressed. As she opened the door, she said, "I made peanut butter cookies for cell group tonight."
"That's so nice, but I'm really busy, I can't chat now," I know that my voice was terse, my mind a million miles away from peanut butter cookies.
She was quick to apologize and vanished quietly, leaving me to my computer screen and piles of budget pages.
Half an hour later I knew that I had to leave if I was going to have the casserole heated up in time for the friends coming for cell group. I had already called home in the hope that Paul could turn on the oven to warm up, but he wasn't home yet either.
I went from my basement office, into the upstairs house where she lives with her husband and other housemates, and since it was so late already I asked if she would come home with me to save Paul a trip back later. She was waiting anyway, with coat, boots and purse ready; and a bag of peanut butter cookies.
I apologised on the way to the car. "I'm sorry I was short when you knocked on the door. I'm so busy at the moment, but I shouldn't have been impatient."
She understood before I spoke; knew my heart, and was quick to forgive.
It seemed that evening that the "planned" study was not to be, my having left the book behind anyway. And sometimes (always) it is a great treat just to "be" with friends. And there were only three of us after dinner as the rest around the dinner table had dispersed to different parts of the house.
We three chatted and laughed, and some of the tension of the day began to drain from our necks and shoulders and brains. I retold the funny car story that I had written about on the blog last week, and explained to her what a blog is. She--who is categorized, sorted, labeled by society as different, but here, with us; same; in every sense that matters.
We talked about what assertiveness is and how hard it is to speak up, without aggression or passivity, when our rights are not respected or when there is a wrong to right. There were no experts at the table, only three students; we have all struggled with that.
We made a level place before Jesus and all of us were raised up in the doing. Perhaps there was a study after all.
1 John 2:7-8 (New Living Translation)
A New Commandment
7 Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. 8 Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.