Day 19: Feasting on Sabbath Time

On Sundays during Lent, we slow to a stop.  No more working, no more spinning, just rest.  Deep breaths leaning in.  Because He stopped and knows we need to too. So come to the well to be refilled, and don’t worry about coming emptyMy lovely friend Linda Andersen who wrote many books on learning Sabbath shares here today:


“They feast on the abundance of YOUR house; you give them DRINK from YOUR river of delights.”  Psalm 36:8

The sky is twice blue and dusted white with powdery cloud wisps.  The water is a smoky Chinese silk: fair and fairer still.  I watch as gulls soar and ducks float and children toss shiny coins into a flowing fountain. It’s almost summer, and as such reqires some serious people and nature watching.

The season that unwinds itself around me is slow and measured, like the pendulum swing of a grandfather clock.  It is Eden without the snake. Waves lap against the comforting shoulder of the shore and splash against ancient rock pilings.  Couples stroll to the heartbeat of a loving sun.

A jetski zips across my view, followed quickly by the red flame of a boat slicing through the water.  A tugboat chugs snail-like behind them both, and I am reminded that we need both speedboats and tugboats in life.

But we Americans, lean hard toward the speedboat side of life, victims of our own prowess, energy, and passions.  We exchange information at the speed of sound.  Our love affair with speed makes us ignore Christ’s call to come to him and find rest.  We believe the doctrine of efficiency until we’re all painted into painful corners of our own making.  And we hurt!

It hurts not to ponder.  It hurts not to stroll.  It hurts us when we toss kisses to God in lieu of lingering in His presence.  And we wonder when joy leaks and satisfaction dies.

What do I choose…today…now.  Once, I chose productivity.  And it tried
to kill me with disease.  That cancer changed my life forever.

I move slower now.  No longer a choice, it is a given.  I am the tugbboat. But I chug along with more joy. I skip.  I stop for fireflies.  I swim at dawn.  And I go to bed early. I drink from the Father…linger at the well.

Nothing ever suffers from  Sabbath living.


In a room, alone, turn off the lights.  Get comfortable (in a bathtub?). Light a fragranced candle.  Watch the flame.  Spend some time abiding in
silken moments.  Breathe out concerns.  Breathe in God’s Presence.

Linda Andersen

I have several books on Sabbath living: the too-busy book and Interludes.  You can buy them on Amazon.  Not trying to sell books…I don’t get any money from it anyhow!  But, just thought you might want to know!

This is Day 19 of Cross-Shaped Evangelism.  If you desire to catch up, click here.


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Love Adds the Chocolate

by Linda Andersen

from my book of the same title:


A house is a house is a house….until love comes through the door, that is.  And love intuitively goes around sprinkling that special brand of angel dust that transforms a house into a very special home for very special people…your family.


Money, of course, can build a charming house, but only love can furnish it with a feeling of home.  Only love takes the time to arrange the furniture in cozy “talk centers” with colorful, comfy cushions (maybe hand quilted).


Money can paint a wall, but only love cares enough to invent a “kid’s korner” and cover it with their handiwork, bouquets, poems, leaves, and maybe even a crayoned autograph.


Duty can pack an adequate sack lunch, but love may decide to tuck a little love note inside.  Or a coupon for a ”night out with Mom”.


Money can provide “tech toys”, but love controls them and cares enough to say “no” and take the guff that comes with it.


Obligation sends the kids to bed on time, but love tucks the covers in around their necks and passes out kisses and hugs (even to teenagers!).  Love reminds them at this special sharing time of their heavenly Father and His great love for them.


Obligation can cook a meal, but love embellishes the table with a potted ivy trailing around slender candles.  Or makes a centerpiece with a nest of Easter grass and a child’s picture.


Duty writes many letters, but love tucks a joke or a picture or a piece of gum inside.


Money buys gorgeous carpets, but love invites the kids to a floor scramble with lots of tickling. uses that carpet for playing board games together when it’s cold outside.


Obligation can pour a glass of milk.  But quite often love will add a little chocolate.  Love asks itself, “What else can I do to make someone’s day easier?”


Duty boils potatoes, but love adds the parsley..and the pat of butter…and maybe a scattering of crushed, aromatic herbs.


Compulsion keeps a sparkling house.  But love and prayer stand a better chance of producing a happy family.


Duty gets offended quickly if it isn’t appreciated.  But love learns to laugh a lot and to work for the sheer joy of it.


Every home has a mix of duty, obligation, compulsion, and even routine.  But unless these are generously garnished with love, home becomes too institutional, too clean, too functional, and clearly uninviting.


Every woman has her own special “garnishes”.


“But the greatest of these is love.”

I Cor. 13:13

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A Love So Strong

Seagulls swooped.  Horizon gleamed orange–crashed crimson  over snowy whitecaps.  Golden beaches sported polka dot people and rainbowed umbrellas.  It might have been Italy, or France, or Cancun.   But it was simply May in South Haven, MI: our town.  The one we “go to” for sun and water and picnics and fish.


The people were young, and they peppered the sand with themselves…full of energy, zest, a love of life and of each other.  Classes were done!  Summer glory beat against their breasts and they heaved themselves into the fun at hand.


They made me smile, these young ones.  For I no longer claim that title.  They rattled scenes from my own yesterdays and shook them out in front of me to re-enjoy.  I was them, they were me.  Boys paraded their strength, and girls their beauty.  The old, old story unfurled as I watched.  Love, in its’ “watch me” stage.  Love caught up in “how do I look”.  Strength was drawn to beauty, and beauty to strength.  The first “parade” of early mating.


Then….my attention moved to a pair outlined black against the horizon.  A pair and a dog.  Side by side they moved forward, holding hands.  Their movements were jerky, unsure, tentative as they moved across the blazing desert of sand, through the young ones,  toward their car.  It was a long way for them.  I could tell.  And I watched.


They were halfway, and there was no turning back.  She stumbled.  He held her hand  as together they worried their way  across the endless beach.  Each step was measured, cautious, a footprint etched with  much thought.  They looked at each other, and they smiled encouragement, as much as to say, “This is nothing.  Remember what we’ve already been through?”


They could have been 80–the frail years.  All they saw was each other and each other was enough.  This was nothing.  They had done more a thousand times, and held onto each other and pressed on.  They had put one foot in front of another and made it through hard times without end.  One stumbled–the other held them steady.  The recipe worked.  It was tried

and true.


They edged close to the end of the beach and grinned victory.  He dropped a kiss on the top of her head.


They, too, had been young.  And now they were old.  And their recipe had worked.  Their loving had been long  and strong and climbed mountains and forded streams and held on and tight.  It had grown from “look at me” to “look at us”.  They had run the race,  fought the fight, won the “gold”.


And, oh, when I grow up…..I do, very much, want to be like them.


by Linda Andersen

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A Gift from Linda: Chapter 1 From a New Book!

Dear Reading Friends,

It’s a joy to have you visit this space, set aside to lift the Savior up.  YOU are the reason WE are here.  We pray for you often.  And we pray our writing will be a gift.


Have you noticed…..we’ve been writing about “Sabbath” often?  In response to a visible need, we’ve turned our attention to helping you find “Sabbath spaces” to be alone with God. In a concentrated way.  Call it TAWG (Time Alone With God).  It’s easy to remember.  We like to call it “Sabbath”.  And it’s more than Sunday: it’s chunks of time anytime.  It’s Sabbath Living.


In the coming weeks, we’ll zero in on what “Sabbath” time is, who it’s for, and why do it.  We hope to make you thirsty for this life-giving practice as you open spaces for truly abundant life to enter.


Now, get comfortable, decide to spend a little “Sabbath” time with us, and be sure to let us know what happens!  We can’t wait!





“All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.”   I Cor. 7:32-35


Chapter 1

A Necessary Goodness


How does that sound!  How does it sound to your soul?  Alone, with the Master.  Doesn’t it make you thirsty?


Most of us tend to lead lives of constant mental clatter.  Conversation rattles incessantly around in our heads, our homes.   Our techno-clutter pelts us with a sea of unquiet.



Alone.  With the Master.



Our worlds are forested with the undergrowth of unchecked words and unnecessary information.


Music and talk shows careen carelessly through our coffee shops, infest our cars, our elevators, our lives in general.  Buckets of television words follow us into hamburger joints and airport waiting rooms.  Our world reeks with noise.  We are, all of us, hungry for quietness…for silence…and most of all for God.


Sabbath time alone with God is vital to our noise-drenched selves.  Devotional time is just a beginning…. just whets our thirst if truth be known.  We need more.  And we don’t take it.   So lives skid out of control and spirits shrivel.


We need to invite alone time–find it and keep it .  Our souls need to situate themselves comfortably inside a pillowed circle of silence regularly in order to hear the voice of God and the truths of our own, multi-colored hearts.  Are we exhausted?   Sabbath time will make that clear.


Cutaway Sabbath times with God alone opens the secret door of ourselves to ourselves, and to Him.  He hears.  He knows.  He weeps deep with His knowing.  Stripped of all the subtle ways we “posture” among others, we become transparent when alone.  We hear the truth.  We may enter alone time in fear, but we leave in exultation.


Sabbath time allows us to encounter truths in a way not possible when with others.  We experience the relief of being “real” and looking at sequestered truths and letting go of heart clutter.


My Story


After the death of my mother, I set aside a “Sabbath” at a nearby retreat center for a day alone.  I thought I was “doing well”.  Hadn’t I said so?  I quickly learned I was not.  Tears erupted from some volcanic center, and I let them come.  For l l/2 hours they came: uncorked, unchained, unbottled.  Raw and fierce emotion charged through me with the gale force of a windstorm until the wind began to surge intermittently, and finally died.  There had been nowhere to grieve!



In the quiet that came, my soul gathered itself and began to heal as God heard my lament.  Mountains of feelings were climbed until the end of the day brought peace and calm, and the ability to reenter my world recharged.


A perfect parenthesis between yesterday and tomorrow.


None of us can water a field with a pitcher of water.  But oh, we do try!  I have.  You have.  But our bodies and our souls must be informed they are not invincible and put on notice they will be cared for.



“Jesus!  And did you, too, need so much time alone with God?  It seems so.  This makes me thirsty…draw me nearer…



Turn everything off.  Sit quietly in a darkened room for 10 minutes.  Breathe deeply 10 times.  Close your eyes. You have begun.

Linda Andersen

also connecting with Jennifer Dukes Lee:


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What Happens When We Listen

by Linda Andersen


Blue bowl of sky hovers maternally, marshmallowed with gossamer clouds.  Sunlight splashes: golden gems, gleeful, abandoned to joy.  It’s a recipe for happiness in anyone’s book,


yet my spirit is testy, pity-full, tired.

My strength is dried up like a potsherd” (Psalm 22:15)


I finger masses of blue morning glory twining ‘round my porch railing.


Where did this thankless spirit come from, and how can I get rid of it?  Jaunty, trumpet-shaped blooms reflect blue, white, golden-throated sky.  They are silk to the touch and moist as a young girl’s cheek.  They remind me of grandma.  Her well never seemed to run dry despite extreme hardship.  My well had.


Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?”(Psalm 43:5)

I thought of the past few days and found some obvious clues: people living in our small home with us, changing our ways and shifting our days.  Externally, there was the cleaning, cooking and adjusting.  Internally, I battled for my turf, resisted the change of my established routines.  It was the eternal dance of human relationship…syncopation and rhythm.  I could do without this dance.


I stood, smoothed my wrinkled jeans, and walked to the garden, touching floral faces lifted to mine.  Some buds just open.  Some tight.   Day lilies shoot orange, catch tired eyes.  This is standing ovation material!  But I’m not clapping.


They will shrivel by nightfall, and be replaced.  I think I may too.


Zinnias sizzle, tall with color.  They could bloom forever.  But I knew better.  They, too waltzed with their season of bearing and followed the lead of their nature.  Now in bloom.  Now not.  Now flamboyant.  Now faded and resting.


Yesterday there were no morning glories.  It was too cool.  Even they, it seemed, couldn’t bloom every day.  Responding to inner rhythms, they blossomed and retreated.


For it is God that works in you to will and to act….”(Phil. 2:13)


Yesterday I blossomed.  I did really well–stood proud.  Today I drooped.  So be it.  “Embrace what is”, say the early saints.  Follow the rhythm.  Ebb and flow.  So be it.  To fight is to increase the pain.


An ad came to mind:  “I don’t have time for the pain.”  What?  It made me angry.  No pit stops allowed?  I decided there were.


As for this home, these people, I didn’t have to be the glue that held it all together.  I didn’t sign up for that job.  That belonged to God.  After all, hadn’t we claimed this ground as “holy” when we moved here?  And didn’t that mean “set apart” for God’s work?  Well then, maybe I should let Him do His job.


Morning Glories are honest.  And they are talking.  When they can’t, they don’t.  Whole days they spend in lavish blue indolence,  drinking energy instead of blooming.   I retrace steps– sit quiet in velvety profusion ; hear  God,  “I am your strength and your song.” (Ex. 15:2)


Then, I know.  My main work today is to let God do what I can’t do!


He is “up” for it!  He can do this!  What have I been thinking?  I head for the house, stronger, sloshing ankle deep through truth.  He was (yesterday), and He is (today), and He always will be, world without end.  Knee deep I stride.  Amen and amen and again I say, amen.

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When our Schedule Presses in Close

This story by Linda Andersen is a part of the Sabbath focus we have on Fridays here at a Thirst for God.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside quiet waters,He restores my soul.” Ps. 23:1-3

“Hello Friend.  How is your life looking today?  A lot like mine, I imagine.


Each of our lives do look a little different.  And yet, in essence, they are exactly the same:  we’re all occupied.  With something or someone we  “do life”.  Small children make big demands.


Big children make bigger demands.


Life happens.


I have lived through most seasons of life, and still find sabbath times hard to come by.  Still I find them necessary for balance….for ballast.  This surprises me!  I thought when I became an “older woman” I would have it all together. I would have no need for cutaway times of solitude alone with my thoughts and the Lord.  Not so!!


Take yesterday. I could have done a zillion things more “useful”, but absolutely did NOT.  Coffee in hand, I headed toward Grand Haven on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan.  My plan?   To while away a bunch of hours  alone in the womanly pursuit  of window shopping!  No hurry.  No schedule.  Finding shops that spurred creativity, I strolled: in and out, back and forth:  a bumblebee on the sunny side of the street, not  on a mission.


This was a day of sabbath hours, and different from most of my DAWG days  (days alone with God).  Today, it was all I needed.


Most of my  sabbaths are small, but add up to big or big enough.  Such is the hour I found last week.  I invite you to pull up a comfy chair, get a cup of whatever you love, (do use a beautiful cup), turn on soft music, and spend 20 luscious minutes loving God and life.  Dream..drift…and dabble on purpose .  Accomplish nothing in particular.   It’s more than okay….



It’s Monday.  And it’s May in Michigan.  Sky weeps wet, cutting rivers down blue-gray windows.  Nine days now.  I thump out of bed with a frown and meet this sodden,  day with an attitude cold as the sky.


Then, I think of Sunday.   Sunday was glorious!  Song and prayer and sermon and soulful hugs and strength upon strength as Spirit of God moved on the waters of my heart and shifted and rearrange my spirit.  Communion fed this soul.


Sundays are always easy to love.


But today is Monday.  Have I leaked so much grace?  Already?


On Monday I do errands.  So I dress for town and grab the list which tolls my hours, and head for my car.  What!  All the doors are locked!  No extra key!  Husband is here but not ready for fixing this!  Time ticks.  Anxiety shuffles in and takes a seat beside pity.  I’m surly as I step into his car and race toward today.


Spirit limps.  Thanks goes into hiding.  Rain pesters hard across grimy windshields.  Store to store.  Red light, green light.  One to go.  I stop to pick up an item, and clerk gifts me with a sack.  Sack is pink.  Over the top and girly.  So I poke, curious.  A candle, a hand massager, and bath salts!  For me?  On a rainy day, me?


Sky looks rosier as I finish my errands.  New script now.  What and when and how can I use my “Sabbath sack”?  Thoughts flit–play tag in my head, and I know today is the day!  After all, I reason, play does rhyme with gray!  Today I will pick my time and enjoy a sabbath hour, alone and listening, for God does speak, even on Mondays.


Responsibility balks and brays loud at this.


Two o’clock.  My hour arrives.  The house is empty and it is mine.  I turn the tub faucet.  A warm niagara  pools, filling the tub.  I drop in beads of scented oil….light candle.  Things are looking up.  I fire up the wood stove and sit back, loving the crackle.  Flames leap.  So far, so good.  Now the  music.  I am so ready for this!  Notes tumble and freefall around my quiet room.  I slip into the silky water and make room for joy.


“Father!”  “To think……you would even make it pink!”


Sabbath found me, and it harnessed my soul.  And God saw that it was good.


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My Sabbath Journey

Sabbath!  It was a gift of rest from the hand of God.   Wasn’t it just that simple?  I had always “done” Sunday, and loved every minute of going to church and enjoying a restful afternoon.

But now, I was devouring the subject, tracing the steps through scripture, and beginning to see something else.  The gift of Sabbath was both deep and wide:  Sunday and more.  It was a life with Sabbath monogrammed onto it.  But if this was true, then how, in my world would I open it?  The question hammered hard … chipped chunks out of my long “to do” list…pounded my peace.

Ÿ  Sabbath living, I saw, was everyday life/work done from  a restful, trusting spirit.  It wasn’t only Sunday–the gift was bigger than that. It was all of life with God center stage, not behind the curtains. Scripture made it plain enough.  It was stopping “the train” along the weekday way.  It was noticing.  It was being.  It was God’s idea, and ribboned throughout scripture: a life lived from a restful heart.  It teased me forward.   So why did I know virtually nothing about a “sabbath-kind-of” life during the week?  Something had to give.  My story continues…..

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Life was perpetual everything..…I was 40, and at the top of my game.  Things needed to change.  I was all about work, producing,  running, serving, family this, friends, that, and church, church, church.  I loved what I was doing.  Carbon copy life.  Poster child of too much and too many.  Do it all, and do it now.  Hurry up.   My motto was “more”  My creed was “faster”.   For months and days and years I did the all-American “ work thing”.  And a smelly cavity was beginning to devour my soul.

My spirit groaned.  My body ached.  My temper flared.  My soul shrank.

I met God on Sunday morning, and tossed Him a kiss the rest of the week, even as I served Him virtually full time, and with all my might.  It was what we all did.

As life pinched harder and harder, soul cracks became soul craters.  I was thirsty for God but there was only a trickle of water.  It’s all I allowed! Something had to change.   So I began to find small ways to quench my thirst.

At first, I took small interludes alone with God.  I didn’t know where it would lead.  It didn’t really matter.  I knew I had to jam on the brakes or expect a train wreck. God had to become larger and largest in my life.  So I started small.

While running errands, I would wheel into our church parking lot beside the small lake peppered with ducks and alive with fountains of water.  It reminded me how thirsty I really was.  I’d “brown bag it” at the gazebo on the lush grounds. I’d reflect. And I’d pray.

Other days, in the middle of it all, I’d drive to the country, listening to music.    Again, I’d search for quiet, holy places. And holy places came: a cemetery, a lake, a beach overlook. I began to find spots everywhere. My times were short: 10 to 30 minutes.  I gulped peace…guzzled rest.  I gasped at the surprising Presence of God.   I received the Sabbath pressed late upon me by the loving invitation of God.  “Come…unto me.”

Over the months, sabbath interludes became longer with less space between.  Wrinkled soul craters  began to plump out and beam health.  Family noticed and grinned.  I noticed.  God noticed. Had He been waiting for me to “come out and play” at life more, notice more, rest more?

Shot through with desire by this time, I thirsted for more Sabbath time.  I couldn’t stop. Sabbath had happily shimmied into every morning by now.  Yes!  Every day Sabbath! Trysts with God (called devotions). But even that wasn’t enough. Sabbaths began to morph into monthly, full-day retreats at a nearby spiritual retreat center. Sabbaths had become my spiritual life line.

“Is that sustainable?” a young woman asked me?  Yes, and yes, and a thousand yeses. It’s the other life that isn’t . 

Eventually, on a winter of days, I wrote a book I called “Interludes.  By then  I had found way over 50 ways to experience rich Sabbaths in my life, and eagerly shared most of them in this book.

But that was just a beginning.  Next, God strove mightily with my heart for other women.  He wanted me to open my own home for private day retreats for women who were thirsty for  Sabbath time alone with Him.  I juggled that around for awhile because it seemed so foreign an idea.

I would prepare the home.  They would come.  I would go away and leave them alone with the Lord.  I questioned this call, because “no one else was doing it”.  There was no blueprint.   But I did prepare the home.  And they have come.  For over 10 years, God has sent “just enough”.  Not too many.  Not too few.  Over 100 women have come, and God has met them at the door.  They have drunk from the well.  And some now host retreats in their homes.

Sabbath!  Glorious, delicious, wonder-filled gift of God!  And to think….it can begin in a tub!

More ideas for succulent sabbaths will be appearing each week.  Care to come along?

Linda Andersen

Linking to:



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Receiving the Sabbath as a Gift

Fridays at a thirst for God we focus on Sabbath, carving out space for God, for rest:

Spring dances in, high and lifted up, waving scepters of gold. Gilded Day bounds free from the east, rising tentatively above slim, blue line of clouds that scurry. Birds chirp. Airplane drones, pretending a sun didn’t rise!

I watch….. still.  Cobwebs emerge, necklaced with dew, on shiny leaves.  Last year’s corn wears shadows well.  Trees blaze, red, gold: now buckets of yellow. Rainbow colors tremble, immodest across bluish sky: breathless peach–purple thunder.

Raucous crows announce “fiesta”!  Sun lavishes painterly light with good cheer. Today, seems overladen with possibilities!  Shadows are, quite simply, disappearing.  All of them. Inside and out.  “You are here!”

And still I watch.  Morning is secure now: full bodied and relentless in bright patchworks. Spring in Michigan.  A coolish breeze reminds me– scatters last year’s leaves in a dervish across emerald grass.

Spring brings crisp, bold mornings, and still-cool fireplace-kind-of-evenings. Mittens are put away.  Garden goods “pop”.  Glad earth turns.  Evenings stretch longer now, and Sun stretches out its’ bedtime.

Gifts of the morning, gifts of the evening.  How many do I miss, and why?  No reason passes muster!  These Sabbaths I will receive, or feel the loss to my soul.

And so, it is brief, but I claim this gift…this Sabbath.  I savor, and I pray, because I can, and not because I must.  “Multicolored gift of God, do your deep and soundless work in my soul.”

Linda Andersen

Where do you go to receive true rest?

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The Wisdom of Sleep

It was a night to remember.  I was on a personal, sabbath retreat at a cottage by a lake, and it was getting late.  Piano music drifted in magical waves through my window.  From a chair plumped in pillows, I watched night envelop day.  Creator God was preparing His children for bed.

Shadows deepened against the orange bar of sunlit water.  Stars brightened against encroaching night.  “Peace on earth”.  “Good will toward mankind”.  I could hear the message of the night.

A strand of lights sparkled along the shoreline.  A lone fishing boat drifted dark against the sun.  I thought about the night.  Wasn’t it God’s engraved invitation to rest and surrender all my cares?  When I shortened my night wasn’t I declaring some kind of mutiny against this care?  Night was God’s good idea.  From the beginning He gave us, His kids, the gift.

With a sigh, Day changed places with night.  “Your turn”, it seemed to say.  I was overcome with the mystic stillness.  God had spoken: “Rest”.  “Renew”  “Surrender”.  “Here is my gift prepared for you before the foundations of the earth”.

Finally came the ecstasy of laying my head down on the pillow. The songs of night played on.  As I watched, silken strands of starlight played over the windowsill through evening mists.  “How kind”, I thought, “and how good of God to make these jewels for my enjoyment”.

That was a night to remember–mostly because I stopped.

Lingering, at such a time, unwrapped the holy to me.  And the gift comes every day!

Linda Andersen

Sharing with L.L. Barkat @

and Laura @  the wellspring:

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Resurrection Laughter

The cavernous airport terminal throbbed with life in the fast lane.  Monotonous voices droned from every speaker, and frigid air washed in and out of automatic doors in shivery waves.  Caterpillar lines formed at each gate, and cell phones popped in and out of pockets like so many prairie dogs on a summer day.


Flights were cancelled.  Schedules were changed.  Eyebrows arched, and the soul of the building was filled with the mournful voices of the delayed.  It was winter in Michigan, and I was there.


I watched as the caterpillar rearranged itself after each announcement.  Boxes, bags, purses, golf gear.  People lurched and surged with their burden–now in line, now out.  Lines disappeared, and people stood in forlorn groups, wondering what to do with their time–and their baggage.  Various options, none of them easy.  Pack it.  Stash it.  Carry it.  Fold it.  Drop it.  Push it.  Roll it.  Stow it.  Hundreds of passengers faithfully lugged their treasured possessions behind them, yet appeared to desperately want them gone.  What would come of all this, I wondered.


One traveler caught my eye.  He was different.  This one, with skin of ebony and eyes sparkling with good humor, apparently had no baggage.  He stood alone and happily in line.  And when he had to, he moved happily out of line.  He looked around him at the tight frowns and decided, this one with no baggage, to do something about it.  I was there, and I saw.


Mostly he used his wide smile.  Wrapping itself around him and stretching beyond him, it touched several people who were close.  They, too began to smile.  Slowly at first, then widely.  The people around him, they grinned!  And they kept on smiling and grinning, until the caterpillar line was one, long unbridled smile.  It was a gift from him who had no baggage, but what he did have, he shared.


The man began to laugh!  In an airport, on a dismal day, he laughed.  And his laughter caught.  He laughed and he laughed.  At himself he laughed and at his plight.  He laughed so deeply his belly shook.  And it caught.  First one, then more.  They began to laugh.  Small at first, and then large.  They laughed with him and at themselves.  They laughed at their plight and they laughed together.  And because the laughter lingered they kept laughing as they left one line for another.


The elfin man now helped them with their baggage.  He lifted their boxes and held their wraps, and they laughed and they smiled.  I watched.  The man with the empty arms became a hat tree, a closet, a bellboy.  He couldn’t have done so if his own arms had been full of heavy burdens.  If he had been limping and lurching through the caterpillar line he may not have smiled, may not have laughed.  And there would be no one to help them with their burdens.


This man, this one, he packed lightly.  He traveled light, like the wind.  He probably lived lightly.  And the laughter of such a one transformed a line and a terminal.  His joy reset

Stuck spirits.  And we all of us laughed in a line.


Later, travelers at my gate jostled their way onto the plane, stowing their goods, mumbling complaints under their collective breaths and groaning their dissatisfaction.  Only a short ride away from the gate, and we stopped again!  A two-hour delay on the

runway!  Tempers flared and children cried.  I saw.


The smallish man with ebony skin began talking.  And again he smiled.  He laughed as he talked, and laughed some more as he told stories.  Again I saw the miracle emerge.  His good cheer wound round and round the passengers until it had done its work.  His laughter bounced over and beyond his seat, working its’ jolly way around the entire cabin.


He had no baggage.  He carried people.  He shouldered their loads and made them smile.  In a blizzard, in the middle of winter, in the overcrowded cabin of an airliner, I saw the Christ at work.  I was there, and I saw:  Liberty incarnate.

Linda Andersen

linking here:

Winsome Wednesdays

and Emily @ imperfect prose

The first photograph can be bought on etsy here:

photo of luggage against fence:!/2011/05/re-purposed-vintage-luggage.html

all other photos found on google images

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