Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Angels and dragon fruits
Last night the ‘house family’ – those who live at White Stone – had the evening in, to spend deliberate time together and ‘be’ – and to bless each other in a purposeful way.
After a long drawn-out meal (table bedecked with candles, flowers and all) and a celebratory fifteenth birthday sing-song for one young sister who is staying with us this week, we got together in our lounge and exchanged presents: one for each person. (Every one had drawn names of others in the house family out of a hat a few days before.) The rules: no-one must spend more than £2 and the gift should be accompanied with a prayerful encouragement, word or wisdom for the person (which may or may not be connected in some way with the present itself).
A marvellously eccentric, thoughtful and imaginative collection of gifts were unwrapped over the next hour – chocolate-covered bananas, a flowers photo-cube, a box of beautiful pebbles, a key-ring wrapped in a parchment message, dragon fruits (what fruits? I’d never heard of these fascinating red, exotic-looking things) and so on…
‘It’s just like Christmas,’ piped one excited sister, gleefully – a somewhat politically incorrect remark since, as a church, we take a pretty dim view of that particular festive frenzy of materialism (with its dubious claims to have something to do with Jesus). But we knew what she meant and she was right. Somehow, yesterday evening managed to capture everything that a celebration of family should: intimacy, generosity, humour, good grace, peace, tenderness, eccentricity and love.
Later this week, the doors will fly open and our wild and wonderful crew will return to fill the house with noise and life. We’ll be glad to see them all. But it’s because of times like last night that we have the strength and the inner substance to make White Stone a worthwhile place for them to come at all…