People in my house.
When Jill and I were dating she said that ministry for her was having a pot of coffee on the stove and people in the kitchen and house. We talked about that a lot because my dad was a doc and his house was his refuge and few of my friends braved coming over to enter “the bear’s” den.
We liked the idea and named the house that would become our house “the Listening House” after a song from the band called Lazarus from the seventies.
I had no idea.
The stream of people who have been through our home numbers past the hundreds into the thousands. People have come for coffee, a meal, overnight, a study with a meal, weekends, weekly times together, and not a few have lived anywhere from a week to half a year.
If I could deduct all of them on my taxes, it would be better than welfare.
These thirty days includes two couples for premarital counseling, all of Jill’s siblings and families for a few days (14), 25 students for Bible Study on Wednesdays, 37 for a bonfire and KLife training on Friday, Jill’s brother for a few months while finishing a painting commission, and Krumrey, a pastor from Amherst MA for only two nights. That does not include the five to fifteen guys that Brandon drags through regularly for hello, pizza, a night or two, or movies all night.
I have learned a few things.
Having ten acres helps.
Walking either with Jill or by myself before going to bed is wonderful, sanity, and stunning with the skies.
As long as my bedroom is off limits, the rest of the house can be going full tilt with some considerations for volume after I go to bed. Brandon, please read this part.
People who are just here are easily entertained. Those who really want to talk usually offer cues for us to follow.
The peace that people find here is one part Jill, two parts her decorating, and 20 parts God’s Spirit.
I have no idea why anyone would want to come visit me, so there must be other attractions — like the deer, owls, hawks, birds, and warm fire or lunch on the back porch in their turns.
People who have watched Jill and me over the years with this flood of souls have opined that if we can stay married, they can as well. We are happy to be an encouragement. We think.
And still. And still some actual listening happens as if magically, as if by Spirit. It is almost as if Someone granted a couple of kids’ silly requests about which they had no idea what they were asking back those many years ago.
I am going to go stoke the fire now, and enjoy a small lull in the traffic count.