We’re camping at Snaring River where we tented back when I was 39 weeks with the same boy. There are no flush toilets here. No hot showers. Just the bare smell of nature, the smell of campfire smoke and sausages sizzling and of coffee brewed, the smell of mosquito repellant and sunscreen and of warm salty skin.
Away from Twitter and Facebook, away from the washing machine and the dryer and the four walls of home.
The other day we were in the city, and we came across a man passed out in the grass and Kasher’s eyebrows knit together and his small voice saying “Why?” because he hasn’t seen a man without a bed before. We live in a town too small for street people. We barely have any streets, just a tiny hamlet of a place, so when we do go anywhere the world knocks us flat with its pain.
I recall finding the muffin tin in the trunk of the car, so relieved that I had something to give this man. I remember putting it down beside him and his eyes opening, slits of blue and me saying, “I’m giving you some muffins,” and his scratchy voice, “Thank you sweetie.”
The boys seeing it all, and I want them to see me feed people words, too. A world passed out with hurt, and for me to always have compassion. To never run out of muffins. A communion of words.
But sometimes you need to eat too. Sometimes you get so hungry and you need Jesus to be your living bread, the kind you can only find in a campground.
God is found in the open spaces. The spaces emptied of us and screens and schedules. The spaces large enough to hold him. The spaces in which to touch human flesh and this, what the internet is incapable of producing: the intimacy of personal contact.
Only Jesus is divine enough to enter into the Internet, into the blogosphere, into that flat kind of communication and transfigure it. To make it round and full and alive.
I need God more than I need my own opinions.
Nothing I write means anything without him. And I find him in the monk’s song of my youngest son. In Trenton holding me close on the blow-up mattress and praying over me while the rain pours down.
“This place where are our arms are touching?” he says, as we lie with toques on our heads under the blue canvas of tent. “That’s the warmest place.”
Relationship is the warmest place.
When we arrive back to where the passed-out man had been laying, he’s gone.
The muffin tin is still there, but it’s empty now.
Ready to be re-filled.
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