Catching sight of the now empty chairs, I am immediately brought back to the conversation that took place hours earlier. Since it’s dark outside, it takes a team of lamps to bring a faint brightness to the room that earlier glowed in the light of the mid-afternoon sun. My friend and I sat there for hours, basking in the warmth of the suns rays and our fondness for each other.
It was too late in the day for coffee and she didn’t want tea. She turned down the cookies and declined homemade cheese crackers. Water sufficed. A friendship like ours no longer requires adherence to the strict guidelines of hospitality. The depth of our soul nourishing conversation sustains us.
There were other ways I could have spent the time. I had work to do for both job and home. I had books I wanted to read and a project to edit. I needed to finish next week’s menu and shop at the store. A nap would have been nice. In the end, the exchange of ideas cleared my head, helped me relax and refocused my perspective. There may have been other ways to use the time, but there couldn’t have been a better use of it.
Our conversation meandered through wildly divergent topics. We discussed the ordinary—the structures of our daily lives. We discussed the extraordinary—the hurdles of bad habits and challenging health. We discussed the divine—the things God was teaching and the way we tried to respond.
Our bodies spoke as clearly as our words. We could see in each other’s faces the turmoil of a decision to be made. At times we both leaned forward, so eager were we to hear and understand. Sometimes it took the erratic gesturing of our hands to get across a point, as if we were trying to grasp just the right word from thin air and place it purposefully into the conversation.
I am sad I have so few afternoons like today—times when two people sit face to face in real time and offer up the contents or their hearts and minds. In a world where virtual communication through text and email is the order of the day, I am restored by realness of sitting with a friend.
While hours like today are rare, I don’t have to wait for the random alignment of a friend’s schedule to enjoy a heart-warming, soul-nourishing conversation. The God of the universe will drop whatever he is doing to spend time with me. He is as eager to hear what is on my heart as he is to remind me of what’s on his. He may be my father, but he is also my friend.
He calls me to come, offering me living water and the warmth of his Son. I’m ready to sit and talk for awhile.
Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.