Out on the porch

BY: Steve Cowley

L’Arche Atlanta has a beautiful porch. In the sweet weather of fall it is a joy to sit out there and eat or talk or breathe. Laughter sits in the comfortable chairs and beckons. Peace meanders through the light breezes and lightens your lungs. The wood of this place was hewn from the Tree of Life.

One lingering afternoon we get a knock at the door; Jesus has rolled up in a wheelchair, and why don’t we come join him out on the porch? Today he is smiling so brightly that we all find ourselves sitting out there with him, tasks laid down. I watch as this crinkled woman with shriveled legs uses shriveled hands to trace words out on her letterboard, drawing a conversation that slowly fills out and smooths my heart with its simplicity and disarming genuineness. She needs no verbal language to delight us when she has that wide-open smile. She asks about one of the people that used to live here, and we share a bit about where they’ve gone. Do you have a message for her? Her answer skirts so many eddies of human conversation, with a prompt I love her.

L’Arche Atlanta has a beautiful porch. In the sweet weather of fall it is a joy to sit out there and eat or talk or breathe. Laughter sits in the comfortable chairs and beckons. Peace meanders through the light breezes and lightens your lungs. The wood of this place was hewn from the Tree of Life.
One lingering afternoon we get a knock at the door; Jesus has rolled up in a wheelchair, and why don’t we come join him out on the porch? Today he is smiling so brightly that we all find ourselves sitting out there with him, tasks laid down. I watch as this crinkled woman with shriveled legs uses shriveled hands to trace words out on her letterboard, drawing a conversation that slowly fills out and smooths my heart with its simplicity and disarming genuineness. She needs no verbal language to delight us when she has that wide-open smile. She asks about one of the people that used to live here, and we share a bit about where they’ve gone. Do you have a message for her? Her answer skirts so many eddies of human conversation, with a prompt I love her. We call for some music after a while, and sing. Throughout she looks like a deaf person gifted with one song at the end of a long, dusty life. Afterwards we share a verdant silence of vines climbing and curling under the easy leaves of this place. Do you have a question for us? Yes, say her fingers, tracing out a few more words: Do you love me? A short while later Jesus bids us a farewell for now, slipping off up the beach. I’m still sitting on the shore, sand in my toes, his words keeping my silences company as I stare across the water. Stephen, son of Peter, do you truly love me? Follow Me!We call for some music after a while, and sing. Throughout she looks like a deaf person gifted with one song at the end of a long, dusty life. Afterwards we share a verdant silence of vines climbing and curling under the easy leaves of this place. Do you have a question for us? Yes, say her fingers, tracing out a few more words: Do you love me?

A short while later Jesus bids us a farewell for now, slipping off up the beach. I’m still sitting on the shore, sand in my toes, his words keeping my silences company as I stare across the water. 

Stephen, son of Peter, do you truly love me?

Follow Me!