My kids are on vacation this week. On Sunday we drove to visit some friends of ours that have a cottage in the mountains. Their cottage is part of a mountain village community. We had been there in the summer, but never in the winter. And as much as we would’ve liked a complete change of scenery (that is, someplace WARM), we just don’t have the money. So we went for a quick overnight with our friends.
Our friends are wonderful people – of course they are, they ARE our friends after all! They have a teenage daughter only one year older than our teen, and thankfully the girls get along GREAT.
They had a son who died three years ago, at the age of 15, a victim of depression that led to suicide. They manage to get through each day, smile, and even laugh – they have to, they still have a daughter to love and raise. But they clearly are not the same, and never will be, how could they be?
Visiting with them is grace. There is grace we hopefully extend to them – that it’s ok to be “however” they are feeling. They don’t have to pretend with us. They don’t have to put on a happy face, but we also don’t trap them in sadness either. They laugh with us, they love our children, they get on the floor and play with them. And I hope that brings them joy. But they also gift US with grace. The grace of an invitation to spend time with them. The grace to accept our children with all their quirks. The grace of allowing us to be “however” WE are feeling too.
During our all too quick visit, we enjoyed wonderful homemade soup and pizza, and a movie night complete with popcorn (NO cable or internet in the mountains!). Our kids helped them make a yummy breakfast, we played games that everyone could play – and a trip to the mountains in the winter wouldn’t be complete without a wonderful walk in the snow.
Within their community there is hardly any traffic, and certainly no sidewalks, so we could walk in the one lane roads the plow makes to get to the cottages. There is a beautiful stream and small waterfall on the community property, as well as a lake where there is swimming in the summer. It’s breathtaking during the summer, and we discovered equally so in the winter. We visited all the sights and marveled at the beauty of God’s creation.
Because even though I am beyond disgusted at the amount of the snow we’ve had this year, and even though I KNOW that snow is the same everywhere, somehow the snow seemed more beautiful there then at home.