"I don’t know why life isn’t constructed to be seamless and safe, why we make such glaring mistakes, things fall so short of our expectations, and our hearts get broken and out kids do scary things and our parents get old and don’t always remember to put pants on before they go out for a stroll. I don’t know why it’s not more like it is in the movies, why things don’t come out neatly and lessons can’t be learned when you’re in the mood for learning them, why love and grace often come in such motley packaging."
— Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)
Our friend Allan had a birthday this week. His 29th.
And in a luminous pair of nights, his friends at New Hope made sure he'll never forget that he's loved. First, on his birthday Tuesday, Pam and JC Roberts made some of Allan's birthday wishes come true by taking him out to dinner at Ruby Tuesday's, and then they all went to the rack and rode the Karts. Allan had a blast as did everyone involved.
Then the next night as part of our Wednesday fellowship meal, we had a cake with 29 candles and some gifts.
Yep, I did place those candles too close together. :)
The world would see Allan as "motley packaging" in that he's developmentally disabled. And yet...not only does Allan frequently provide those moments of joy and laughter, but in loving him we learn more about what love really is. New Hope loves Allan deeply.
And that same world might look at New Hope and see a smaller church with less. But on days like today, when I'm looking back and seeing how large the hearts are of many of the people in this church...
Sometimes God wraps His best gifts in "motley packaging."