Drawing Near

“Pay attention to the things that bring a tear to your eye or a lump in your throat because they are signs that the holy is drawing near.”
~ Frederick Buechner.

I like a party as much as the next guy, but confess that I wasn’t able to generate much enthusiasm for our staff Christmas party this year. No reflection on my colleagues nor an indictment on myself, everything about it seemed out of sync for some reason. Perhaps I felt that way because my wife couldn’t come, or it may have been the seventy degree temperatures with high humidity, which only feels like Christmas in that it reminds me of childhood Decembers in Port Arthur. Irregardless, I sat outside last night among several couples, alone with my thoughts, paper plate full of lasagna and french bread balanced on my legs, a cup of coffee at hand, situated near a propane heater that quietly effused warmth to the outdoor deck.

In an effort to be polite, I addressed the young man seated across from me. Intending to engage in nothing more than small talk, I asked about his work and family. What he said in response arrested me from my party funk, and I sat spellbound for the next fifteen minutes as he narrated how life had changed for him since they almost lost their two year old son when he fell into a rural pond last year. His voice broke slightly as he ended the story by saying that the whole experience was a wound that held him nearer to the heart of God, and that he never wanted it to completely heal. He had tears in his eyes. I had a lump in my throat. We sat in silence; a simple candle lit patio had been transformed into sacred space by the reminder that we will never be like Christ without a wound.

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