Saturdays. I wondered today what would Lyle be doing the first Saturday of March. If he were not at the fire station he may have planned for folks to come watch the Bedlam game this afternoon. I confess, he would be sorely disappointed in the Sooners’ season but would certainly be thinking better days lie ahead.
It is a “First Monday” weekend. Maybe he and Evette would have planned a trip to Canton. He noted in one of his last posts that he looked forward to traveling and shopping with Evette more. At the end of this post spurred by Jason, he “tagged Evette.”
The post is really a list of responses to a series of questions like “4 movies I like,” or “4 TV Shows I Watch.” Yes, it is true, Lyle got sucked into the “trainwreck,” as he wrote about it, “Wifeswap.” It wasn’t that Lyle was interested in swapping wives with anyone. No, he just wondered how he would live if a camera were in his house 24/7. He wondered how he would portray Christ in some of the same experiences participants in the show were thrust into.
It was the “I tag Evette” at the end that got me to thinking today. In his post, he noted one of 4 favorite foods was Evette’s spaghetti. Keep in mind he listed this along with Steak at Ken’s or Primo’s and mexican food at Ted’s among other places. No small compliment to include your wife’s spaghetti in that kind of company.
Lyle listed in the “4 Places I Have Lived” – Tuttle, Oklahoma in 15 different houses and Silverton, Colorado one to two weeks a year since the early 1990’s. Neither of these “places” did Lyle live without Evette. I am wearing my Creede, Colorado sweatshirt as I type this. When in response to “4 Places I’d Rather Be,” Lyle listed “except maybe . . . Colorado in the Summer.” It is the “except” part that came to mind this morning.
You see, on most Saturday mornings we met at Snow Hill to set up chairs for Sunday. That is, if Lyle wasn’t at the station, on vacation, or out of town with Evette. We had a small band of volunteers who spent anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour setting up chairs for worship, depending on how many of our small band could make it. Afterwards we would chat about what we had to do the rest of the day, where we may be headed next, or just about what was going on in our lives. Today we would have set up chairs after Men’s Breakfast. And, since I began this tribute to a friend, I could not help but think about Lyle as I prepared to think about something to share with our men.
The thing about Lyle’s response to “4 Places I’d Rather Be” is his first response. He wrote, “No place I’d rather be than right here, right now.” He added the exceptions of Colorado in the summer and Cozumel in the winter. But, he really meant it when he hit “publish” for the world to see , “No place I’d rather be than right here, right now.” Maybe this is the kind of sense of life and love Jesus meant when he said, “I came so that you might have life, and have it to the full.” I know, too many think for Jesus people the place we would rather be is in Heaven. But, that is not what Jesus said he came for. It is not that he did not talk about it later. But, knowing how people had been robbed of enjoying life with God, Jesus pointed out there were those who would steal away what that life would look like, offering some kind of counterfeit. But, he came to open us up to life with God, life to the full.
Too often our approach to “inviting” others to Jesus tacks this on at the end. We want to ensure them a place in eternity so we jet straight for it. The kind of life Jesus talked about included eternity in the present. That is, life with God and in God today would carry us to forever. Some people hate life, hate their lives, hate where they are. Circumstances often dictate those feelings. But, when I read again Lyle’s response, I could not help but think he had captured the essence of what Dallas Willard was pointing to in The Divine Conspiracy. Life with God is really life. And, while that may have an eternal dimension, life with and in God is here and now.
I told our men this morning. In June I will mark 17 years with Snow Hill. Thinking about Lyle’s words spurred me to think and share that there is not another congregation, community of faith I’d rather be with than right here, right now. I am hoping these words may prompt you to think about enjoying life with and in God right here, right now the way Jesus described it in the Sermon on the Mount.