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We are in the city for the weekend. A Spring Renewal at a church we love, and it’s already been beautiful. Full and meaningful and dripping with emotion and nostalgia and music and message and love.

We walk into the hall for the Saturday lunch, a fundraising event for a ministry with which we are marginally involved, and there is my cousin Randy, big as life, sitting at one of those long plywood-topped tables. He’s been home for ten months and I’ve known that, but this is the first time I’ve seen him. The last was eighteen years ago, at my grandfather’s funeral, and I was pregnant-like-crazy with my first baby.

That was the last time anyone in the family had seen him. He’s been lost, you see.

He has a story but it’s his to tell, not mine. I can tell you this, though. He was lost, but love found him.

I can tell you this, too. He was my cousin, a boy cute-as-a-button with a smile that could light up your heart and he grew up handsome and strong and charming. Family gatherings brought us together from time to time, and he was sweet and one of the boys, and that was how I knew him.

But he was my husband’s friend.

I see Randy first and my heart fills as I hug him and whisper my happiness at his return, and I cast a look around the room for Lyndon, and I tell Randy how happy Lyndon will be to see him. Then, there he is, and all I can do is stand back and watch the reunion. Holy ground.

I watch as two grown men weep in each others’ arms and I count the seconds as they turn into minutes and that embrace, faces wet and arms tight, is the manliest thing I’ve ever seen.

Are you home? Lyndon asks. Are you really home?

And Randy says, yes.

All weekend my husband leaks joy. Over and over, with wonder in his voice and tears in his eyes, he whispers in my ear, Randy’s home.

This is Spring, I think. This is Renewal.

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Wow, it’s been a year already. Spring Renewal is once more around the corner and this year I play a mini role, teaching a class on joy. It doesn’t get much more joyful than remembering this sweet reunion.

Thank you for allowing me to indulge in nostalgia this week.

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