This week marks the end of a season in the life of our house as we say goodbye to our beloved friend and brother Pat. In his typical endearing yet short-noticed style, he told us a few days ago that he would be moving this week to New Orleans to begin graduate study at Tulane. This weekend, we shared the last of our Saturday morning breakfasts together and spent the rest of the morning and afternoon painting a bit of the upstairs. As we painted, I reflected on many of the times we shared on Ohio St. Such memories began just over a year ago as CG and I prepared to be married, and we painted the downstairs with the help of our friends Bill and Pat who eventually became our housemates.
I admit that at the time, the thought of housemates was often overwhelming. We were going to be transitioning to life as a couple in our first year of marriage. I was finishing up my last year of the Physician Assistant's program, a course of study that can be quite difficult. With many challenges ahead of us, thinking of the challenge of figuring out how our lives can be shared with others before we had even figured out how to share our lives with one another was a bit scary. Some would advise (arguably even scripture) that the first year of marriage should not be so broadly shared, but specially focused on one another. That is definitely a bit of advice that is more than reasonable. I guess we finally stuck to the belief that the Kingdom of God leads us to a different view of home and family, and we acted out of that faith. And now I hate to think of the many blessings we would have missed out on if we had clung to the reasonable view of cherishing "our own" space during the past year instead of allowing that sharing with others.
We would have missed out on weekly meals and the friendships that developed through this shared table. We would have missed the joy of seeing the ways Pat and Bill grew in the ways they cared for one another. We would have missed the richness that comes through walking with others. We shared in the struggles and sorrows of Bill's addiction as well as times of celebration when healing seemed more at hand. We continue together to hold in tension the sorrow of our brother who struggles with the hope we have for his healing. We would have missed the growth that comes from these journeys and tensions. We would have missed the challenge of Pat's example as he pours out his life in care of a family of refugees, a single mother and six boys. His passion is inspiring, and we would have missed the honor that it was to have such a beautiful soul as Pat take such an interest in us. I pray that as we answered his many questions, God's grace allowed him to grow in his own experiences of faith and love. It is truly an honor to be trusted with such an influence, and not something I would have wished to have missed. Simply put, we would not have experienced the ways the works of God are made manifest through his people in the ordinary aspects of life when we commit to opening our lives to one another in such ways.
We look forward with expectation to the next season God is preparing for us in the life of our home, but I am certainly going to miss the one that is now closing. I am so thankful for the ways our lives have been more abundant by sharing them. I pray that God will keep Bill safe wherever he is, and as we send Pat away, I offer this blessing to them both:
The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
We love you, our brothers.