I laid in bed soaking up the morning sun like a cat in a window. As the bells rang informing me of the time, a tinge of guilt came and went. I was not going to be compelled by guilt to leave the comfort of my bed, but the light did eventually call me to get up. I feel settled, calm, peaceful, unlike my first days here where I woke up to anxiety and to do lists. Recognizing the shift in me, I smile and thanked Jesus and blew him a kiss from my bed. I was at home, because I was with him.
These days in Altea have been filled with quite the story arch: The tired American makes her way to a small Spanish town to write a book, along the way she meets fellow travelers who become friends, there is a lot of laughter, talk about the important things of life and meals shared, eventually the woman wakes up and the sun creeps in (cue happy soundtrack) and she is seen with her hair down, smiling and free.
The people who have filled the list of characters in the scenes of this time have been an unexpected source of learning and expressions of light.
One young man, I met in a writer’s group I joined, is also writing a book. He is on a spiritual journey, has lived a rather full life at a still young age and wrestles with what is next. He is kind and soft spoken, unless he is talking about his passion, then his tone raises and he looses himself in his words, still kind but not quite as soft.
Sara and Saundra have greeted me every day at the coffee shop where I write. They are kind, warm and work well together. I can tell they have fun, even as they work very hard to keep all of the customers’ needs satisfied, including mine. I look forward to seeing them each day and I have a feeling if I were here longer than a month, we would become more than customer/owner friends. We call each other by name and they smile when I come in.
I met the men and women who participate in Altea Arte film club. And a number of men and women who frequent the mojito bar in the evenings.
Then, there was a woman with whom I shared a drink one evening. She told her story of love and loss and longing. She also spoke of her spiritual journey.
I met another kind woman, who is a part of the writer’s group. She is writing a book, and at the very same time finding connection with others along the way. She and I met up yesterday along with her partner and we spoke for nearly four hours about our upbringings, thoughts on religion and Jesus. She is warm hearted, curious, intelligent and thoughtful. I feel grateful to have met her.
I also had the honor of meeting a couple from Denver of all places. They had just come from India where they were both working and they found Altea on the internet in a hunt for the next spot on their journey. We have shared hours of conversations, a coffee, a meal, a movie, and a glass of wine. They left this morning for a weekend excursion then will stay in Altea for a while longer.
I met friends of friends and, of course, have connected with and spent time with the friends I already love in this place.
Each character I have met along the way has been an invitation to see and speak of beauty, goodness and truth. They have afforded me the opportunity to see the collective human longing for connection and spiritual attentiveness. I have been invited to speak of Jesus and cannot help but do so as He is the content of the book which I am finishing up. At one point, while I was sharing in writers group, I became keenly aware that I had been speaking of Jesus for a long time, I caught myself, “forgive me, I have taken up a lot of time, I know many of you have things you desire to share,” collectively the group responded with, “No! keep going, we only have you here for a bit longer!” I continued.
As I have spoken of Jesus to many who have only experienced a legalistic, exclusive, divisive, shaming, Jesus, I have been reminded of the beauty, grace and peace He brings. When Jesus, who is perfect love, brings us connectedness with the Father, it is good news. Jesus is good news. He has had some bad PR, but He is good news. In a conversation yesterday a woman said to the person next to her, “she is the one I was telling you about, she is the one who speaks of Jesus in a way I have never heard.” He is good news. Good good news.
He has been the good news in my soul as I have been in Altea. I have seen evidence of Jesus and his love for me in the people I have met, the beauty of the sea, the peace of my sleep, the thoughts that fill my mind, the stairs, the streets, the plants, the beauty, and in the words I’ve consumed from friends of His.
As you go through this day, my hope is that you will notice how Jesus is good news in your life. If you do not know, take some time to get curious. Read Matthew, Mark, Luke or John and ask Him to show you.
The goodness, truth, and beauty that surround the person of Jesus is available for us, every one of us, every day and it compels us to be people of gratitude in whatever our circumstance. So I close today by saying how grateful I am to be loved by Him, to have been adopted into His family and to have His loyal love as my constant companion and pray that you know His loyal love along your side too.