Monday, October 11, 2010

A Million Miles: Chapters 23-25

I know that I've said this before, but one of my absolute favorite stories from this book is contained in the chapters we read for today. In case you haven't read the book, I've just got to recap a bit. Miller and his friends are kayaking up the Jervis Inlet in British Columbia (woot-woot for my second home!), and they come upon a mansion in the wilderness. Turns out it belongs to this amazing guy Bob Goff and his equally amazing family of Christ-lovers, philanthropists, and revolutionaries. They've hosted politicians and dignitaries, and they didn't hesitate to reach out to some sweaty, dirty strangers in kayaks. Wow. My kind of people.

Anyway, I butchered the story (it's so cool, you really do have to read the whole thing) but I want to talk about what I consider to be the heart of it. Though Bob and his family possess many qualities, the one that inspires me the most is their selfless extravagance. Much in the same way that God loves us lavishly, richly, and undeservedly, so do the Goffs give of themselves to friends and foreigners alike. When Miller and his friends show up unexpectedly, Maria offers them plush towels and heaps the table before them with fruit and cheese, crackers and fresh bread. They talk for hours like old friends, and--best of all, I think--they send off Miller and his friends with a memorable farewell. " our amazement, we saw all of them, fully dressed with shoes and jackets, take three steps together and jump into the water, coming up and waving and shouting their goodbyes." Isn't that gorgeous? Don't you just love it?

I want to talk today about abundance, about heaping joy and unexpected kindnesses on each other. How beautiful is it when we love lavishly. How like God. Unfortunately, I tend more toward the miserly than the extravagant. I'm a bargain-bin shopper and cling to my Dutch heritage when I go out with friends. Yes, the term "going Dutch" definitely applies to me. But I've been the recipient of wild graces, and I'd love to be the sort of person that loves unsparingly in tangible and intangible ways.

A few ways that people have spoken love over me in extravagance... A friend bought and shared a $50 bottle of wine with me just because. Some mentors of ours opened their vacation homes in Florida and Minnesota simply because they wanted to bless us. Knowing how much it meant to me that I was finally pregnant after five years of waiting and trying, my cousin prepared a gift basket filled with things to pamper both me and the baby. A good friend "borrowed" my children for the day so that I could luxuriate in an afternoon nap. Though we don't buy presents for our anniversary, my husband eschewed that particular tradition this year and bought me a beautiful Pandora bracelet with charms to match all the important dates in our shared history. Wow.

What about you? When was the last time you were "spoiled"? When was the last time you "spoiled" another person just for the sake of showing the depth of your love?


  1. I'm thinking of transferring universities, and my friend and I were talking about one in Ontario. Her parents offered to pay for my flight so we could go check out the university! And it was an amazing experience - still not sure about what decision to make, but the time with my friend and the people we met was amazing.

    People can bless our lives so much. I hope I'm the type of person who would jump into the lake, fully clothed.

  2. What a gift! :) I wonder if I know the college you're talking about... My husband is on his way to a university in Ontario to give some sort of presentation in November. Small world if it's one and the same!