The Porch

Next week I will be in Indianapolis. I’m speaking at a camp for teenagers Sunday night through Thursday noon. The older I get the more of an honor it is to be asked to participate in weeks like that. When I was 25, I had a lot to say and people needed to listen. When I was 35, I thought I had a few things to say and hopefully some would hear. Now that I’m in my late 40’s I’m not sure what I have to say and pray that God will tell His story through me.

I love going to Indianapolis. My people are there. Two very close friends live there. When camp concludes on Thursday I will point my car toward Ruckle Street and land at one of my favorite places on earth: Larry’s porch. It is a place pregnant with seeds of life. Not existence but true life where you feel genuine concern, receive critical push back, and are reminded of your true identity. How is it that such an ordinary place can be so sacred?

Larry’s front porch has hosted some great gatherings. Several miss-matched wooden rocking chairs and two porch swings form a circle that can be easily enlarged. Rich conversations happen there. We have processed theology, relationships, beginnings and ends there. We have argued and laughed. We have wept tears of joy, frustration, and pain there.

I remember the first time I visited Larry’s home and took a seat on the porch. It was Labor Day Weekend 2008. My marriage was over. I had just moved out. I was experiencing things I never thought would happen to me. So I headed to my friends home to be with people that were safe and whose nature was healing. I sought out the people who had walked with me through frightening possibilities which now had become a painful reality.

Since then I’ve experienced all that the porch encompasses with my sons, my daughter, my best friend, and a number of new friends…fellow pilgrims. We each need a porch. We need a place to be silent and still. We need a place where accountability comes from relational equity rather than positional authority. We need a place where we plant ourselves and yet the location of our seat is an invitation for conversation.

I believe there is something deep within us that craves a place to be and people to be with. So my question is: Why is it so rare to experience what I’ve described?

  • Past wounds? Life, love and community all require us to risk being wounded again.
  • No time? It seems like I can find time to do the things I want to do.
  • Lack of friends? Pray, even though it sounds like a Sunday school answer, pray. God wants us to live our life connected with others.

What’s your porch story? I’d love to hear it.

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