It had been a long time since we got together. Much has changed, some known, far more hidden from view. We began to catch up, slowly. Once started, there was no stopping the process. It began in the early evening and went on into the night. One story followed by another. Many of the stories layered on top of each other. Details within stories followed by more stories within the fine points of the original.
As we talked, I realized that I wanted to know more. Each story was a gateway to something more. One story revealed another layer to the person I have known but did not. As the evening progressed, I met two people again. The process was very different from the first time. In the moment at hand, I now know I can trust these friends. I have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. I find an ease filling my soul as I listen to their stories.
I love the eagerness in their response. One can let go, amazed at what is unfolding. It is a process replicating itself across generations. In one story, as soon as one side told their story in detail, the other responded. “They had a story to tell, too: ‘And just look at what’s been happening here—thousands upon thousands of God-fearing Jews have become believers in Jesus!’” (Acts 21.20) There was more to come. Details have a wonderful way of putting texture and nuance to every picture.
In the day after, friends have gone home. The apartment is quiet. I listen to a country song, remembering their stories, richer for the experience. I can sense Hope’s presence then and now.
I am ready to hear more. In the urgency to get to a new destination, I often ignore the stories. Even if I hear the story’s headlines, I blindly walk away from the details. The loss is beyond calculation. Last night’s dinner was a casual gathering of three friends. If I had to put a value on the time together, the answer is easy; priceless.