The Chair {A Tribute to His Dad…}

It sits on our front porch and rocks gently in the breeze.  As though it has always been here – as though a long lost friend has come home.

Tony’s mom and brother came to help with the move – they rolled up sleeves and bent backs to load and clean. They came to walk us through those first few days when I stood overwhelmed in a kitchen larger than I had ever had before.

I mean, seriously…what is supposed to go in all those drawers?

I know the dangers and it crosses my mind every once in a while when I curl up on the cushion and pull my legs in close.  I’m aware of my neighbours and the dealings that some of them deal and I know that guns could be involved at any moment…but I also know that there is nothing more soothing that a slow rock in the sunlight while the birds are singing and a little boy runs his trucks through the flower bed just below.

But his mom, she brings this chair and my only memory of it was of those dark days when we drove away from Canada. When we found refuge in her home in those transition days and Tony would build up that fire and I would curl up in that chair and rock in the firelight with my bible open but unread in my lap.

I didn’t realize that there was a longer history that was about to come full circle.
She placed it there in its spot on the front porch and everyone took a turn over the next few days to sink down into its comfort and ease into this new space called “home”.

And I think it was in the evening, when we were all exhausted but not ready to go to bed that she shared with me the story of the chair…

Over 40 years ago now, there was a boy and girl who fell madly in love and married faster than anyone could blink – and this groom? He found a perfect little spot for them to make a home in the middle of a not-so-great part in downtown Portland.

He brought his bride there the night of their wedding and in the rain and the mud their car got stuck and there they sat until a police officer showed up and offered them help.

He also offered some wisdom to this starry-eyed couple…

He told them to leave – to find a home in a safer part of town.

But this groom? He told this officer that *this* was going to be their home – that they were going to love Jesus and their neighbours here. That that this was part of their ministry.

And so they stayed.

So did this chair. It sat out in front of their home and rocked in rainy Portland nights and traveled through many miles to each home that they would settle in.

And that groom – his ministry…his legacy lives on in his son.
His son who wraps me up in his arms at night and prays brave prayers over me and loves us all fiercely. 

This chair…it’s more than a place to rest. It’s a testimony of sorts – that loving doesn’t mean just loving the people most like you. It means loving all the people around you.

It’s a reminder that failure and brokenness and sin don’t have the last word – Jesus does.

This chair sits out on my front porch, not just because it looks right and perfect there, but because my heart needs to be reminded that when he died…no matter how he died…his dad passed the baton of faith on. And we are taking our turn in the race, running with Christ as our goal.

Because maybe one day, when we are gray and aging, this chair will grace the front porch of one of our children, beckoning them to keep running towards Home…

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