The world wakes slowly, rubbing sleep from its eyes and rolling back the blanket of mist. We are in a cabin. In the woods. Without cell phone reception or internet. I don't miss them a bit. It makes staying here, only miles from bustling commotion even more appealing. I don't have to leave if I don't want to. And I don't want to.

The family partly converged Wednesday night, and piled four more into the mix last night. Today we'll expect a few stragglers, conscious always of the ones who couldn't make it. Life infringes smelling like boot camp and family commitments, time constraints and finances. I am never happier for my singleness then when I stretch my wings and they brush against people I love and who love me.

We'll celebrate the third wedding of this Makeshift Family this weekend, looking forward to the fourth one coming in November. Last night I sat at the table watching the old married couples play card games wondering where the time went. I smiled. I am glad for it, more than anything I think. I'd rather be here, in the center of joyful covenant than with young, discontent radicals or middle-aged disillusioned pauches of saggy skin and balding heads.

I'm sure I'll love then too.

There's a song about the world spinning madly on and sometimes I feel like that. Even here, in this cabin in the middle of nowhere, where we touch no one in the world but the family around us, I still feel like the world spins madly on. I read this morning in John 18, where Jesus clarifies that his betrayal is part of the cup he'll drink. I guess I never thought about that. I just equate the crucifixion with the necessary evil—but betrayal too? And so I investigate in my head. It wasn't just the death that hurt so badly, it was the last days, the thorns, the whippings, the sip of bitter vinegar and the looks that Peter didn't send Christ's way. It was all of it. The stripping down of His glorious ministry. The accolades were gone, the crowd who worshiped Him with palm leaves and crippled faith, were shouting his death warrant and turning away.

His world spun away. Not on, just away.

The other night I slept in the middle of the road. I don't think I was the only one, a thousand cars stopped on Interstate 81, we turned our ignitions and our lights off, raindrops our only sound. I'm not sure why there was a holdup, whatever caused our spontaneous cease fire was gone by the time we finally crept forward. For two hours we sat there, sharing a forced experience, which somehow made it all okay. I don't mind sharing captivity.

Which is why we have friends I think—because somehow we need to make sense of all the traffic jams in life, the ones where we never really know why they happened, they just did. So this week, I'm nested amongst my friends, those who've shared life (coffee, card games, dance lessons, Mystery Science Theater, front porch conversations, and toothpaste) and I think to myself this morning: if we have to be in the world, captive to living life instead of skipping ahead to heaven, I'd rather stall with these folks than anyone else.

September 2008