I spent nearly nine hours on Sunday in my new friend’s beautiful backyard. It was one of those perfectly Portland days when the forecast is all doom and gloom but the reality is warm and mostly sunny and very nearly perfect, and I spent hours watching people come and go through gates and doorways, chat on the lawn, meet, catch up, learn, laugh. These aren’t my usual folks, these Sunday night dinner gatherers, but they are lovely, and I love the chance to watch them and talk with them. I love figuring out the pieces we have in common, the birth of inside jokes, and the stirring of potential. Sometimes I think I’m happiest in these spaces.

The more I run with this crazy, ever-evolving crowd of Imago-ites and Mosaic-types, the more aware I become that we aren’t living life under the usual circumstances. Here we are, some of us single, some of us less so, but not one of us is alone. We are, old friends and strangers, wrapped up in and with each other, and we form this unbelievably beautiful tangle of vastly varied ideas, lifestyles, and hopes, knotted by one common love. Which results in my sitting on a blanket on a backyard lawn, laughing and watching relationships form and marveling at the gift we’ve been given. Because I have to believe that this is how we are intended to live, how we were created to live- of and with each other, around and for each other, speaking love into each other’s lives and helping one another draw closer to God in inches, in conversations, hamburgers, hoolahoops, laughter, in grace.

Spring, and community, and I am a blessed and happy girl. These spaces, these very nearly perfect Portland days, I will be grateful for the gift that is God being alive and so flawlessly evident. I will rejoice in His being easy to spot in blue skies, in flower-petal rain and clear nights. I will watch the beginnings of magic in first conversations, in new friends connecting and old ones checking in, in eyes-meet moments that make my heart skip and group sing-a-longs and simply being glad to be. I will be thankful for BBQs and backyards and blessings. I am wishing the same for you.