On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Preston and I write letters back and forth. We share our journey with grace and mystery, bits of Gossip Girl, and the wonder of fumbling our way through. We would love it if you’d join us. You can read his last letter to me here.
I am typing this on a very small iPhone screen, sitting in a house in Washington DC. I don’t quite know how to type quickly, my thumbs pressed together, so each letter seems more like a choice, something deliberate and with purpose. I am sure I am exaggerating how the iPhone has deep meaning for the poet in me- but then, I’m prone to hyperbole and I like the idea that this small device might make us think twice about how we form words. How beautiful they are.
You wrote in your letter that though you bake bread, you are not the host. I think this is perhaps the thing we forget most often in our deep hope to love others, to make a space for them, to feed them with good food and compassion and grace. We think it’s our compassion or our grace or our food. But if it’s truest, as you say, we are feeding them not from our richness (what do we have?) but from His.
You ask a good question, though, about how we find a harmony between our bread baking and His table. I believe there is harmony – that He is delighted to make this a potluck. You bring bread, and I bring the apple pie I am famous for and someone else brings the snap peas and the carrots and we offer all the work of our hands back into His table. He loves that we do that. I am sure of it.
But we go wrong when we more sincerely desire that others see us as filled, the richer, the wiser. We want to be bravest and best. We want our food to be what really satisfies.
I want this so often. My metaphor is not yours- you bake bread and I build rooms- but the problem is the same. We search for our worth in another’s need of us. We labor to fill others so that we can feel full. And the cycle is a beautiful train wreck that repeats: they are hungry, we try harder, they are still hungry, we fear and panic and worry.
So we are not the host and we are not the bread of life or the one preparing a room for in the Father’s house. We are knee to knee with the least of these. We are laughing and gathering His abundance at the same table.
Perhaps it is always and only the lesson to receive grace: poured out around us and everywhere flowing.