Telling stories with hand gestures

I don’t teach every Sunday morning.  I alternate with a beautiful sister in Christ who loves our girls well and who has wise things to say to them.  And because of this alternating, I was able to sit this morning and participate with my teacher hat off.

“What are you passionate about?” she asks the girls.  They return only blank stares and silence, save one senior who explains that her passion is music because it connects her to God when her words and emotions fail her.  (Lord have mercy, I’m going to miss her when she leaves for college in the Fall.)   My sister-teacher-friend sits in the silence for a few moments then meets my eye-line across the room.  “Amber,” she says with a teasing edge to her voice, “is there anything you’re passionate about?”

“Well…” I say, trying to grab onto the thoughts that are swirling in my brain like autumn leaves on a windy day.  On each leaf, a different word:  Church, relationships, people, friends, God.

“I’m passionate about the Church, about how we can be better and show God’s love to the world.  I think that God reveals Himself in really cool and unique ways when we’re taking care of each other, so I get really passionate when I’m talking about my friends and what God’s teaching us about Himself through our relationships together. ”

My sister-teacher-friend smiles as I’m talking, as though she knew the words that were going to come spilling out of my mouth before I did.  And I really think she did.

Apparently, I talk about living in community a lot. Very fast. And with lots of hand gestures. 


After the 11 o’clock service wrapped up, the BFF came down and sat next to me holding my neph-in-love, “Do you want him? I have got to go to the bathroom!”  She asks a question, but it’s really not a question at all, because Noah’s giggling himself into my outstretched arms before the exclamation point marks the end of her sentence.

It wasn’t a “big” moment.  It wasn’t even a moment that would have ordinarily registered for either the BFF or me as worth remembering, except that my sister-teacher-friend had just pointed out to me and our girls that my passion is community and this tiny, almost imperceptible moment is community.

Community is about doing life together.  It’s about being plugged in for weddings and funerals and graduations and births of new babies.  But, it’s also about doing dishes and changing diapers and reading really rough essay drafts. It’s about making time and space for each other so that “little” moments become the “big” things of life. And it’s about Church. And relationships.  And people.  And friends.  And God.

In a lot of ways, it’s about recognizing that the ordinary moments with people are extraordinary.  Because living life side-by-side is a gift that manifests in little boy giggles, and moments to pee in peace, and stories to tell with lots of hand gestures.

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