It's late afternoon, and it's time to gather the children and go. We're helping prepare and serve a meal at church. But I have to admit, in the deep part of my heart, I don't feel like serving tonight. I'm tired. The boys have given me a run today. The temperature is still painfully cold, and a night at home would be the sweetest sort of thing.
But we gather and go.
To me, right now, it feels like commitment. The simple right of doing what we said.
As we drive to church, I think about the million things I have to do at home. The house looks like a war zone. The cupboards are bare. Laundry is piled high. It would take my crew a full night, at least, to get to a manageable place. To a place where organization resides.
But we go. And I consider the things I can press into a sliver of evening when we get home.
When we get to church, I find that our friends have already arrived. Sweet scents waft from the kitchen. From the hall, we can hear chatter and the bang-clang of activity. The boys and I hang out coats on pegs and go around the corner.
And what I see there blesses my soul.
My friend's small daughter is wobbling through the dining area with a tray of salt and pepper shakers. She puts the tray down. Stretches far to place two shakers in the center of a table. Stands back to consider. Then moves right on. Zay thinks this looks like fun and he shoots away from my side and is soon at hers.
There's a row of children at the counter, perched on stools. They're tearing lettuce. Chopping carrots. Slicing cucumbers. There's chatter and laughter and togetherness. Gabe and Sam find kitchen stools of their own. They wash fast and pitch right in.
A friend, standing at the stove, waves and smiles. Her father has come to help. His wife, her mother, is two years in heaven and the sight of these two together tugs tenderness in my soul.
Another friend is reading a recipe and her daughter stands ready with a scoop of flour.
And I pull my apron from my bag, loop it over my head, and suddenly all I want to do is join in. I want to slide into the scene and find a place. I want to gather and give. I want to be a part of something, even just a dinner, that's not about me.
There's something about serving. Maybe it's the togetherness. The sweet form of connection that working side-by-side brings. Maybe it's a willingness to move myself from a place of priority to a place in the heart where others come first. Maybe it's that the Lord created us to love Him and love others and when we serve we hit both just right.
I don't know.
But I'm grateful to be free of my own agenda. I'm thankful for this opportunity.
This serving place, right here, is where I want to be.