After a particularly brutal news cycle, a couple of weeks of heart ache that ripples from close to home then out into the nation, but found its way back to home and repeated, seemingly without end, we needed an escape. Senseless deaths based on love identity, a child killed on magic property, one killed on a family camping trip by a fallen tree. The ensuing hate and blame and second-guessing showed how far we have delved into an ugly holier-than-thou society of strangers. Connections felt coast to coast after 9/11 are buried so deep under fear that we no longer even consider walking in another’s shoes. Time to step away and restore in the presence of someone who’s heart was equally bruised, who soul was crying out for a day of peace. To the church of IKEA and Brickworld we went.
Spending an entire day with such a good friend, who can mock your inability to follow through on any IKEA hacks, will stop and agree, yes, that IS cute:communion. Filling up carts, writing down bin and aisle numbers, marveling over hundreds of things for which we have no need, selecting, admiring, rejecting, mindless wandering in a cinnamon roll scented desert. All the while, talking, talking. One conversation that lasted 8 hours, finally enough time to truly get caught up and remember too. Add some perspective to events of 30 years ago. We gift each other the unique perspective of the long view added with an abundance of trust to illuminate our own blind spots. We traveled three floors, loading our carts with whimsical items and shed our burdens as we went.
Next stop Brickworld, a convention of LEGO builders who brought their masterpieces for the rest of us to gawk at, visiting her son’s displays. Dessert after our IKEA lunch, this fed our need for wonder, sheer delight. Works of art and imagination, creativity born of the same bricks I use every day, left me with little speech. As someone with no artistic talent, I have a deep appreciation for others who use that portion of their brain. I am intrigued by their ability to, well, just create. From scratch, no kit, no instructions. Art worthy of gallery showings, my soul rejoiced. Builders devoting hours and energy to joy then sharing the fruits, families eagerly laying it up. For a few hours, peace reigned.
My friend has one of those hearts that carries the hurts of all the world, her empathy capacity limitless. She worried that taking a break from hearing about the next child injured, the next family divided, the next big shooting, just for the day was wrong, somehow. Checking out felt unfair, irresponsible. Remembering that God doesn’t sleep or shop at IKEA and cares about her over-burdened heart as well allowed her to take a day of soul restoration. My soul is thankful I went along for the ride.