This past week, I called my friend Jeanenne and asked (after months of missing her but not seeing or talking to her) if the children and I could come to San Antonio for an overnight at her house since they had off from school. She said yes, and so we went.
When I was starting out in my 30s, I met Jeanenne and she quickly filled the role of a mentor in my life; now, these fourteen years later, she is the dearest friend and more — like a grandmother to my children and to me a loving older sister.
Often, after spending time with close friends, Mathilde tries to sort out who is just a friend or acquaintance and who is more than that, closer to family. We are graced to have many friends who are familial, sharing a space in our hearts where trust and faithfulness are paramount, as is a history and shared life together.
This visit, I delighted to watch Liesl sit on Jeanenne’s lap and learn how to make a shark tooth necklace together, and later to watch Jeanenne teach Liesl to play Scrabble. I am grateful for her and the way she pours love into people, including my little beloveds.
I also enjoyed soaking in the company of her friend who is a chaplain at a veteran’s hospital. This woman has a light and a brightness that is rooted in the Holy Spirit, and she left me (through the course of ordinary conversation — because that’s who she is) with two passages that Jesus spoke:
Matthew 11: “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” And Matthew 12 and Luke 11 wherein Jesus tells a parable about demons and reveals that we are all occupied with something.
With the first, I recalled how I have stumbled and fallen away on account of Jesus when I didn’t like the circumstances of my life and was tired of submitting to them. With the parable, I’m stuck with that image of being occupied with something, and how empty of God, “… the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”
It’s hard to leave heavenly places, but we did today, and we drove home from San Antonio to Austin to make an afternoon appointment. Tomorrow we go for another one-night stay; this time camping.
September occupied me with a bit of melancholy that resisted the change in my children’s days and development. A tinge of fear grips me there as I don’t live in the moment of who they are now but in the wondering over who they will become. October, and I submit.
And I think of another verse, one that speaks of the power of God to transcend what’s seen and to occupy — “…to give unto them beauty for ashes…” Isaiah 61:3
Photos (from top to bottom): Spotted last week, Liesl’s handmade bookmark; Liesl and Jeanenne at Scrabble, and coloring with Mathilde; a splash of milky, sugary coffee for Mathilde as we left Jeanenne’s today; “My coffee is mo better than your coffee,” Mathilde said.