As we close the first week of Advent, the tree N found for $8 at our favorite thrift store is up and decorated (though there has been conversation in the past about having the tree up for the proper liturgical Christmas season, from Christmas day through Epiphany), and the colored lights are strung around the curtain rod in front of the front window. We have spent a lot of time in the kitchen lately, which I think is pretty normal for us, but the process of documenting our adventures has made me very aware of how much time we spend in that little kitchen of ours.
It has been raining buckets off and on for the last week. The anticipated snow is instead another heavy drizzle of cold rain and wind. This has kept us inside more than we would usually like to be, but there have been so many good smells filling the house that we really don't mind. The rain, though, seems to also encourage the potential for melancholy. There are times when we forget that our lives here do not translate out, that the safe space we find in our kitchen does not exist outside the walls of our home. I meet with a group every couple of weeks to talk about theology. The conversation has ranged from evil to Plato to Dostoevsky to contemporary song lyrics. Yesterday we discussed three contemporary songs, one of which was "God Shuffled His Feet" by Crash Test Dummies. One particular stanza jumped out at me, though:
So he said:"Once there was a boy
Who woke up with blue hair
To him it was a joy
Until he ran out into the warm air
He thought of how his friends would come to see;
And would they laugh, or had he got some strange disease?
I think this resonated so much with me, because there are times when my relationship feels a bit like this boy's blue hair. I am in a relationship that is teaching me so much about unconditional love and growth. We live very intentionally, and our home is full of love and comfort. The kitchen is almost always pumping out good smells, and the door is always open to friends. It is a place where arguments are settled through respectful conversation and patience. There is laughter and there are tears. I am challenged and nourished and encouraged, both emotionally and spiritually. I am learning to love the person God has created after a lifetime of apologizing. Yet, just as the boy with the blue hair, once I step outside, I am aware that not everyone, even friends, will see the joy.
Earlier today, the weight of it just caught up with both of us. We talked it through, cried a bit, and enjoyed the sanctuary of our living room. Two hours later, I was again in the kitchen, this time with our friend A, who came over to join me in baking bread. It was his first time to bake bread, and as it was rising, we stood and talked for a while about how profound the simplicity of bread can be. We talked about sustenance and the eucharist and sharing food. He was already trying to decide with whom he would share the second loaf in his batch. Some things, it seems, are too good not to share. While the rain rages on outside, and so many things are still in chaos in the world, we are in the kitchen baking bread and basking in the simple marvel of community.