Friday, January 23, 2015

How to Get a Backstage Pass *It’s Easier than You Think

...Invite them over. Yes, to your house. Yes, it works. No, I’m not joking.

(Taking them up on their invitation to their house works, too.)

My phone tweets to notify me of an incoming text. “Would you like to come over for coffee or a cocktail?” I can’t help but smile. I was hoping I’d get to meet J’s dad and stepmom. This friend who I met only a few months ago, she tells me her parents are coming from the States to visit and well, I tell her I’d love to meet them.

We arrive in the late evening. Her husband is standing at the stove, stirring melted chocolate in a pan as we make our introductions and J offers drinks. LeRoy takes a coffee. I decide on Gluhwein (traditional hot mulled wine). And then, as smoothly as pouring coffee or mulled wine or stirring melted chocolate, the conversation flows.

I find myself sitting on the edge of the couch, leaning first toward her father. He laughs when he tells me that his day job and his passion are two different subjects. But I’m interested. He says he’s a salesman by trade, has sold in various capacities for over 30 years. I ask him to share his salesman’s advice on life and he chuckles congenially. But it’s when he shares his lifelong passion for music that he lights up. A recording artist who writes his own compositions, he tells us stories of past projects and shares his dreams for the future. J leaves the room and when she comes back she hands me a gift... a CD.  

After a while, the conversation turns to her stepmom, an early childhood specialist. She shares her stories about her work in training teachers to teach better. Ah! I am in the thick of this and again, I am leaning forward, forgetting to sip my wine which is cooled to lukewarm by now.

She says she’s in her sweet spot in her career. That it doesn’t feel like a job she’s going to, but something fun she gets to do every day. She tells us how she gets the teachers she’s training to slow down, engage, interact. She helps them tweak their teaching style and curriculum in order to create curiosity in the children.

She shares a case study with me and she doesn’t realize that her words are revelation to me. Insight that I tuck away in my mind and my heart, figuratively filed and highlighted under the heading, “How To Connect With Your Child’s Heart.”

This last week, we invited people into our home five out of eight days. And it’s not because I have the “gift of hospitality.” (Anyone who has ever spent time with us in our home will testify that I’d benefit from a good course in the Art of Homemaking and Hospitality. I’m finally remembering to offer guests a drink when they arrive. Usually. Okay, occasionally. But I feel really accomplished when I remember this little detail.)

I read recently about this lame man who was carried to the Beautiful Gate every day to sit and beg for alms. How long did this go on? Did he ever consider that one day he might receive healing? What were his highest expectations?

In his wildest dreams, did he imagine that this one day… two men would walk by and speak a Name that would change the possibilities?

And yet, he gets a backstage pass. And in the encounter, he’s healed. His need exchanged for healing.

     If people are all that’s eternal…

            If relationships are all that I can take with me into eternity…

And all that matters in all these moments is the heart that opens wide to give and receive.

In my wildest dreams... that in all the interactions with another... the encounter, His Name whispered, comfort offered, victories celebrated... possibilites mentioned... dreams dreamed...  

this meeting up backstage.

Our Life Group gathers at five o’clock every Sunday and this time it’s our turn to host. So we add the extensions even though I’m sure we’ll scatter throughout the dining and living room. Yet, here we are, around the farm table. All of us. And I breathe gratitude for the long table and shared food and this glimpse into Eternity.

And this community? It’s a privilege indeed, this backstage pass.

There’s the birthday evening when beloved friends joined us to celebrate 16 years of Ezekiel’s life.

And another evening spent getting to know an adorable couple we met recently.

And the Saturday spent with sweet J and her littles and a family we hadn’t met yet, but I invited them over… because I met the mom briefly and was so enchanted that I just had to get a backstage pass. To spend time. To hear her story.

I’ve never had a backstage pass with a multi-millionaire. At least, not that I know of. I’ve never held a conversation with a celebrity. I’m pretty sure, anyway. And yet... I get a backstage pass with the Creator of the Universe every morning. He lingers long with me, shares His heart and listens to mine. And He heals the lame parts of my life.

And, you. Thank YOU for all the countless moments when you’ve opened your heart…   for giving me a backstage pass into your life. For allowing the exchange of ideas and art and inspiration and LOVE and HEALING to be a part of our friendship.

I am grateful

288. …for you.

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