Thursday, May 31, 2007


anyone familiar with the word halcyon? originally comes from classical mythology about a kingfisher (a kind of bird I'm most familiar with from Gerard Manly Hopkins poem "When Kingfishers Catch Fire") that had the power to calm stormy seas.

since sunday, I've been trying to think of the right word to describe the impact of our small group's surprise party. halcyon isn't the right word, exactly, but it gets to some truth of the impact. its meaning ranges from calm, peaceful, tranquil to rich, wealthy, prosperous to happy, joyful, carefree (according to, at least). maybe by the end of this post I'll stumble on the right word.

Ronni and I, and the kids, showed up at Phil and Amy's house Sunday after church expecting to have lunch with them and Rich and Andrea. "you've got to see what we did in the basement," Amy enthused, once we'd come in. we followed, curious, wondering what new addition (a new home theater? toys or furniture for the kids in the small group? a mural? could've been anything…) we'd find. sitting on the floor, like kindergarteners at snack time, were Ross and Angela and Mark and Marit, two couples from our small group. "surprise!" they announced. whatever for? we thought to ourselves. turned out, a surprise party was on, to thank us for serving as small group leaders, for our service to the church, for just generally being us. crazy. we had no idea. none at all. still wondering if it really happened – that's how overwhelmingly cool it was.

we went back upstairs, and were joined by Robert and Dirsa, Jon and Cathy, Joe and Angela, and Paula. wow. after everyone ate together, we gathered in the living room. one by one, each person shared things they were thankful about in regards to Ronni and me. quality stuff, deep, touching, powerful, life-giving, rich and true. the kind of stuff you always hope for but could never know unless someone actually put it in words and looked you in the eye and said it. the kind of stuff that makes you a little uncomfortable to hear, but that you wouldn't trade for the world. no holds barred encouragement. tons of laughter, too. and the laying on of hands in prayer. it was, all together at once, one of the most humbling and most uplifting experiences of my life.

elevation, that's the word. in the u2 sense of the word. like your soul is elevated, and wow that feels good, but you realize that what's all that, that what's got it truly going on, is the force doing the elevating. love. encouraging community. the Holy Spirit. what happened on sunday is what happens when I'm around God, not to put too fine a point on it. Jesus was present in an unexpected but completely welcome way through our small group.

Ronni and I looked at each other in our kitchen later that day, spirits agape. wow, we laughed. thanks, friends.



Anonymous said...

el-a-va-tion...woo-woo-oo-hooo, woo-woo-oo-hooo

awesome! now i have elevation stuck in my's gonna be a good day...

Anonymous said...

that is aawesome Jesse. You and rooni are so awesome, i bet it wasn't hard for people to say good things about you.

Anonymous said...

It was great to see you guys this past Saturday night at the Ann Arbor Vineyard! I'm glad you came!

J Lee Harshbarger
My blog site:

Anonymous said...

Steve - dude, thanks for sending those poems for my mom's ordination. awesome!

Grace - you rock. thanks!

J - Lee - thanks for surfing over to this blog! it sure was great to be in A2 this weekend. and glad to see the 2005 music list is finally up :)