Travel weary and temporarily keyless, we knock, feeling as dusty as the door, as parched as the plants. I run my thumb along the delicate thinning edge of a swooping leaf, crisp and browned, like old parchment. On the door, the vinyl letters have broken in places and begun to curl away, even as they still simply remind: give thanks.
Give thanks…and not just once but every time we cross the threshold, every time we open the door, every time we return to love, and every time we can offer–and welcome–it.
We don’t have long to wait. Scarcely do I manage a thought about replacing these letters we so need to see before the door swings open, and our children reach for us, rushing forward and then stepping back so that we can enter. I am three steps in the doorway, the backpack sliding from my shoulders, and Zoe wraps her arms around me, pressing her cheek against my own. She breathes me in—long, deep breaths. There’s something about just home hugs, the kind that come with missing, with freshly embracing a familiar gift.
We stand that way for so many beats of time, savoring presence as a delicacy, unrushed, and I wonder why it is that we allow familiarity to make ordinary of our extraordinary, to subtract the grace. Isn’t it our nature to turn every day gifts–even our daily bread, even His “I am always with you”—into bland and flavorless expectations, to let so much beauty cover over with the dust from our journeying feet? At least for me, it’s this reality that makes true Sabbath rests not only obedient but critical. Those overlooks aren’t merely pockets of pretty nothingness; they’re hospitals for the hurry-sick. The process—stopping, shedding, listening, reminds us how to breathe each other in—deep, long breaths, now. It’s an ordinary thing for me, the fight to find treasure in the right places, and I don’t want it to be true that I only appreciate the people I love after I’ve lost them. I don’t want to miss the extravagance of familiar blessings. For me, that means an every day accounting of grace–the deposits carefully noted, intentionally logged, my finger gliding over an abundant bottom line that could only mean one thing: He keeps no record of wrongs.
Give thanks–even with the letters broken in some places and curling, now—in every beginning, every opportunity, every just home.
Just beyond us, I see Riley hugging Kevin, bending to put her ear right over her daddy’s heart. Sixteen and she still hugs us that way, unashamed to be our little girl, to admit we’re still her shelter. Three more steps away, Adam spins and turns and smiles, watching us—the confident picture of active waiting, the knowledge of love enough.
His turn next.