Tag Archives: grandchildren

The G-kids teach me about communication

wedding, rod white, gwen white, fun, photo booth
The wedding had a photo booth. Is this picture worth a thousand words? (If not I have three more to try).

A whole day with a two-year-old and a five-year-old (including six hours in a van!) can be very educational. Naturally, I was educated about Circle of Hope. Our church is thinking through so many important things these days as we amp up for the future, that my mind is swimming with educable moments. One of the things the boys were teaching me is about communication.

Communication is key to connection, which is something every child wants and against which every child rebels—and that sounds just like Circle of Hope.

Theo is a babbling two-year-old. Completely cute and, if you have not learned his language (like Oliver has), almost completely incomprehensible (although I can always hear, for some reason, anything that sounds like “Papa”!). He made me think that we, as a church, are a lot like him. We’re like toddlers who are just getting language, but we don’t know how to use it that well. But we do a lot of talking: this website, the Way of Jesus site, at the Sunday Meetings, in circles of cells, blogs, the email lists. What is all this babbling about? Love. We want to connect. And, as Theo knows, connecting is not that easy.

Oliver, on the other hand, is an articulate five-year-old. He can recite the strangest factoids from the Discovery Channel—his father Googles his teaching to verify it! But at one point while we were waiting for the wedding ceremony to begin, I sent him on a mission to go around a nearby tree and come back (and use some energy he was saving up for a ceremony outburst!). He went to the tree and went around, around, and kept going around. Finally I shouted in a whisper voice, “You need to come back. They are going to start!” He looked at me as he was going around. Finally, to the amusement of the gathered guests, I got up and retrieved him. He also reminded me of Circle of Hope. There are plenty of us looking at each other, and at the “official” communication devices, and blankly ignoring them for a moment of differentiation, or just power grabbing. Who knows why we disconnect in plain sight like we do?

kids, child, children at marlton pike, circle of hope
Regulars at Marlton Pike attend a wedding

We’re like a big kid, this Circle of Hope. Some of us can’t wait to connect and are really trying to get heard, even frustrated when we are not understood. Some of us feel talked to quite enough and feel very sure of our place, even if we ignore the latest attempts to get in touch with us. We’re Theo connecting and Oliver ignoring every day. It was still a happy dayand Circle of Hope is pretty happy, too.

Last week we thought about hiring the Communication Director we put in our previous map. If we ever have the right person and have enough money that will be great. Because communication is key to love and we all need help with it. If that person ever gets hired, I guess they will be like me in this little picture I have been drawing. They’ll be the loving parent figure who is full of love and hope—hope that we’ll talk, hope that people will hear, hope that you’ll feel listened to, hope that you’ll be found when you are moving into some independence but still staying in earshot.

My Week of Seeing Jesus in the Morsels

Lent is coming soon and it will inspire a good fast. That’s good, because I could use one. But until then, I think I am determined to receive whatever I am served at whatever table I am seated to see God revealed. Last week was a feast.

Monday it was linguine, Mexican linguine at Paloma. (I don’t understand them, but it was delicious). My Valentine told me she was going to let the conversation flow wherever it flowed and enjoy it. She gladly wore the bracelet I bought her from the Eyes Gallery, which is always full of Mexican oddities. (Do you detect a south-of-the-border theme?) The blessing was easy to spot in the surprisingly good pasta: many Valentine’s Days and deep, comfortable love. Given where we come from and our native incapabilities, that is no small blessing.

Tuesday it was a quesadilla at ten o’clock after buying a minivan. I have the van sitting in the garage waiting to be driven, waiting for grandchildren to grind chocolate into it, chocolate I probably shouldn’t have given them. The quesadilla asked the question as I impatiently waited for the cheese to melt, “How much are you going to pack into this week?” The voice of Jesus was in the quesadilla.

Wednesday morning it was the granola of brotherhood with the band of cell-leading brothers at Morning Glory. Their partnership seemed like a sudden development. Suddenly everyone loved one another and was committed to the group like it is life-saving. It made my yogurt especially sweet to be with them. In spite of all their professional and family pressures, they want to have a life in Christ that makes a difference.

Wednesday night it was limp pasta at the Gold Standard with my neighbors. We decided to have dinner together rather than just meet for snow shoveling. My one neighbor was ready to tell stories about Vietnam and gang life in North Philly. We were focused on his seventeenth and eighteenth years. They were entertaining years. Jesus was in the entertainment, in seeing people who I don’t normally see just the way they are, in offering understanding, and in waiting for love to do what love does. 

Thursday noon it was spanakopita with the pastors in the Lebanon Farmers Market. (No kidding). I could have had the Kenbrook Camp lunch but we evacuated to visit Jonny’s mother (thus preventing his early demise). She has an Egyptian-food stand in the market and served us what undoubtedly amounted to the entire day’s profits. Delicious. The pastors are deliciously spiritual and committed to one another. The conversation was deliciously spiced with talk about Coptic Christians in the midst of Egyptian upheaval.  Jesus was definitely at the table. Rich fare.

Thursday night it was a horseradish chip at the cell meeting. My cell knows I am repenting of my weird dietary habits this year, but what is a few chips going to hurt? They also know I rarely leave the supermarket without buying something I have never eaten, like horseradish-cheddar potato chips. God was in the being known and still being loved.

Friday it was the family feast for the twins’ birthday — toddlers and babies everywhere, new houses and new developments, faith stories, disappointments, negotiations about how to be a clan. Again, even while washing every dish in the house afterward, it all seemed like a blessing. I am so happy it is all right to come to our table and tell the latest miracle story about how someone bumped into Jesus by bumping into one of us.

Saturday it was overpriced burb food with friends who are worth suffering bad food for. We were shooting for PF Chang’s and ended up at Redstone (don’t bother – but then, I realized I am very spoiled by Philadelphia food). Jesus was especially in the tales of woe that surfaced, and which were received, and which benefited greatly from being told in a place where one is sure to be loved.

Sunday it was a carb-feast with the women of Shalom House and their Guidance Team (I look forward to meeting the men of Shalom House, soon). Jesus was easy to see in the vision of their listening tour, and in the creativity around the table. In the desire to see big things happen, it is often easy to overlook just how big it is to participate in what is happening already!

Then, Sunday night, Josiah made sure I got one of the Tootsie Pops on the snack table. That’s a big deal to me. Papa needs a Pop. Being loved by a child loosens up the hard candy shell around my inner child.

This week, I honestly hope my spiritual food is not accompanied by so many calories. But I am encouraged to consider each morsel as a gift and have a feast of love when the babaganoush and diet cherry Pepsi are passed to me like bread and wine.