Consider yourself hugged.

"The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstacy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bath, or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home."
~ C.S. Lewis in The Problem with Pain


When I first read this passage from The Problem of Pain I had one of those moments where I completely understood what Lewis meant by "pleasant inns." Just last weekend Rusty and I were trying to explain to friends here about friends back in Maryland. We eventually came to the conclusion that our friends back in Maryland are our community - our place where we feel very much loved, accepted, renewed... if "The Church" is made up of people rather than a place, then these people are part of our Church. Our community where above all (even the John Boehm nunchuck story and Rusty and Erik's guy love), Christ is central. We never have to second guess anyone's intentions. There is a lot of laughter. And honestly, it's a small bit of what I expect heaven to be, only on a much grander scale. It is a a "pleasant inn" that God uses to refresh us on our journey, even when our journey has taken us on a different path than our friends back home.

I bring that up because after any kind of tragedy you always hear people reminding you to hug your loved ones and tell them you love them because you never know when they'll be taken from you. And last weekend's conversation made me realize I'm not sure we've ever put into words how we feel about our friends. Whether it's a fabulous reunion party at the Stuarts, crabs at the Springers or Janniche's, or even having a friend play guitar for your first attempt at an art show or seeing John and Ruthie (when they're apparently taking time out of their date night just to show their support), or putting together Easter baskets with Jerren and Em or wandering the aisles of Jungle Jim's while Rusty and Brent discuss the finer points of hoppiness... it's all community. It's God's way of refreshing us. And reminding us that this? This is nothing compared with what's to come.

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