Years ago, I was struck by these words from scholar, author, theologian, and priest Henri Nouwen.
More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them…I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.
For one season of life, through the writing of two books, several songs, and one horrible stomach virus, my family followed through with this quote, sharing a house with Jake and his family.
Jake and I connected well past sundown tonight for a cold game of catch at the skate park. Three teenagers watched us and helped us when the timer clicked and the lights turned off. We threw from different levels of the park — from the top of the quarter-pipe into the bowl was my favorite.
“This is my first game of night catch this year,” I told Jake.
“I can see my breath better than I can see the ball.”
“You know, the last time I played catch was with you,” Jake said.
“In the backyard past the gate?”
“That was the time. When was that?”
My family moved out of Jake’s house in the summer of 2011, then on to Springfield the next year. To this day, his house still feels like home. I think that’s at least a little bit what Nouwen was describing.
Today is Groundhog Day, the 21st anniversary of Dad’s hole-in-one.
Maybe this will be my year for a hole-in-one.