In the side yard

Last night, I was with a couple in the Union. Old friends. Two other friends joined us. In their side yard, in the cooling evening air, the five of us sat down to a picnic table loaded up with fried chicken, beer and wine... I know.

We got straight into it as old friends can, talking about suffering and joy. Mysteries of life, like things we never wanted being things we would not change. In our stories, both recent and long past, we worshipped God who has been faithful to us. All of us.

In the middle of it, this couple asked to switch the subject. Their neighbor has terminal cancer. A Jewish man with a Buddhist wife. His siblings have come into town to stay with them.

"I feel like I need to go over there and tell him about Jesus." We all agreed. No matter who's in the room, no matter the response, fade them out and tell him about Jesus. "Yes. I need to do it. I want to do it!" We stopped and prayed that God would make way for an opportunity for this neighbor to be saved.

Leaving their place, filled in every way, I thought the evening was a microcosm of who they are. In recent years, nearly swallowed by the many challenges that have befallen their family, they've managed to carve out space for a neighbor in need. And if I hadn't told this story, hardly anyone would know. They are, as we all ought to be, both extraordinary and ordinary.