It was a few evenings ago. We sit by a comfortable fire together on a cool, fall evening. We’re situated around his fire pit out on the back side of his property. We are hidden by covering trees and heavy bushes so it is a nice, private place but what makes it really special is that it feels like we are sitting isolated out in the mountains somewhere and not in the middle of a busy subdivision. It’s a very unique spot.
We’ve done this, actually, on quite a few occasions through the years. It is something he and I try to do several times every fall. As time goes by and as our lives are further seasoned, I think we both relish the good times we spend together around the fire pit.
I take my lawn chair and a mug of chai over to his house. My friend sits in his chair or on a bench sipping his mug of coffee. His dog pads between us – back and forth – all evening for an occasional ear scratch or friendly tummy rub from each of us. As the dusk turns into a starlit night, we move closer to the crackling, warming fire. Our conversation becomes less animated and more intimate.
We talk about relationships, concerns, things that make us happy and sad, and hopes and dreams about the future. We wonder aloud why God does the things that he does and how we need to react to God’s direction and care. We are amazed at how God has set us down life-paths that we would never have imagined.
Our conversation is spotted with silence as much as it is populated with conversation. Our ideas and emotions need to be said – but felt, too. We are comfortable enough with each other that we don’t fear silence. Sometimes what needs to be said can best be said with silence.
The fire pit is our confessional. It is a safe place.