BY GORDON HARRIS
I’ve thought of counting them. Butt I’m not sure I really can. After all, how many people have sat on my couches over the years? Hundreds? Thousands? It’s hard to tell, but it is a lot. And the evidence is imprinted on the leather. Cracked them. Expanded their seams. The sunlight and friction, fears and tears have faded them now. Wrinkle lines pattern their skin, like old men brown and creased from the years.
John Arnott keeps telling me to get new couches. And part of me agrees. The part that says that they’re too old and shabby for a Director. And they are brown. I hate brown. Think brown should be left for dead trees and dirt and the things cows leave behind. I disagree with the theology of the movie, but some things really should be Left Behind.
It’s like they’re part of me, part of the school.
… then there is the other part of me. The part that just can’t bear to give them up. It’s like they’re part of me, part of the school. A legacy going back all the way to Day One of the School of Ministry. Perhaps. All I know is that my predecessor gave them to me. And once upon a time I sat on them in his office, hearing his wisdom. They are like a token from him. A remnant of Marmac. Of miracles and snow drifts, of 911 and flying birds, of water buckets and broken pipes and anointing oil soaked into concrete. A holy relic of the brilliantly ordinary.
Butt it’s not just about what they symbolize . It’s about all the students who have sat there and what’s happened upon them. The life coming to hearts. The nervous sweat of people “in trouble”. The tears and tissues, skin cells and fingerprints gripped in rebellion and fear. And revelation. The falling kindness of God, like an embrace, a caress filling their hearts.
The falling kindness of God, like an embrace, a caress filling their hearts.
And then there is all the other stuff. The girls in the Advance Module demanding the Sex Talk. The jumpy confusion of potential small group leaders as we ask them to sit down. And staff meetings. Cathy spinning out her bright ideas. Sarah smoothly offering insight. Pete talking trash. Mandy and Bethany and Alice driving the agenda. Joanna shrieking with laughter. And me.
Those couches call to me to migrate to the brown, to feel the cool surface under my hand. The give and deceptive comfort. I recall the times of prayer napping. All the times I’ve recouperated and connected with God while stretching out there. The 967 times I’ve soaked to Transatlanticism. Found God. Stilled my racing heart. Felt peace descend.
I just can’t give them up. Those couches. Perhaps they will stay in this place for another 100 years. Fading. Crinkled. Remaining just long enough to lie down on or to squeeze four butts between their brown arms. The unchampioned support for thousands in the SoM community. Butt…