Of Feasting and Music and Friendship

“Oh my stars, y’all,” I declared, “I think I’m in heaven.”

I had just taken my first bite of ravioli della madre, homemade pockets of pasta filled with prime rib and veal, topped with a creamy tomato sauce and two spoolfuls of parmesan cheese. I boldly asked for two as our waiter came to me, and our friends all laughed at me. After Alessandro, our waiter, left, I chortled, “Come on, y’all. Don’t you know a pasta without a cheese is like a kiss-a without a squeeze?” (I learned that from the Pioneer Woman, by the way.) We all cracked up again, and several heads turned our way in the restaurant. I think that happened a lot with our rowdy group.

The six of us were settled in a cozy nook of the most amazing Italian restaurant in Washington D.C. filling our bodies with spicy arugula and warm bread slices and earthy wines and fresh pastas with lobster and scallops and cheese and meats.

It was amazing, because “…the table is where time stops. It’s where we look people in the eye, where we tell the truth about how hard it is, where we make space to listen to the whole story, not the textable sound bites.” (S. Niequist)

Earlier that day I had wondered how I was going to make this day happen. I am so low right now from chemo and just the thought of showering and getting ready and dressing up was exhausting. But I did it, knowing I would rest in the car and we could take the metro and shuttles to our destination. We met our friends, Steve and Leah, and carpooled up to D.C. chatting and sharing life and family and community and church and gardening and business and beauty. Heart sharing… struggles and victories and advice and books and truth together.

Arriving at the metro, we met up with Matt and Amy, and while Brian groused a bit about the price of metro cards, we all laughed and stepped back to let him and Amy figure it all out. Once on the metro, we chatted and shared and laughed some more. “Can you believe we’re really doing this? It actually worked out!” I grabbed my phone to take a picture of them across the row, and when I saw the man behind me eyeing us strangely, I promised him we knew each other and I wasn’t a stalker, which cracked up several people in the metro car. I’m just that funny, y’all.

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Exiting the metro station into Foggy Bottom area of D.C. we drank in the warmth of the summer evening, the sounds of street musicians, and the rush of pedestrian traffic. We walked several blocks to our dinner reservations, an amazing authentic Italian ristorante. We toasted to friendship and shared stories of life and spent hours around a table feasting on much more than food.

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Rain began just as we were finishing cannoli and tiramisu and cheesecakes and Bigne’ alla Crema and cappuccinos, so Brian reserved an Uber and we arrived at the Kennedy Center in style, right on time and not soaking wet.

Y’all. The Kennedy Center. Breathtaking. You Must Go. It’s beyond worth it.

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We found our seats and the show started two minutes later.

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Oh my stars, friends, if you don’t listen to Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers, I’m with Her, Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyers, then go, right now to your iTunes and download them. We were in American Acoustic Folk heaven. The musicianship was amazing, the harmonies were exquisite, and as I stood over and over with 2000 other people to applaud, I leaned in to Amy and whispered, “If music is this fantastic here, just imagine what heaven will be like.”

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We spent intermission outside walking alonside the Potomac and drinking in the lights of Georgetown and the fragrance of gardens around us. I wrapped my arm through Bri’s and put my head on his shoulder, and we both just sighed, deeply, happily. No words could even come.

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After intermission, we filled our souls with amazing music once again, and during the final standing ovation, when the stand-up bassists took their instruments with them and you knew it was really, sadly over, I curled my arm and head into Brian’s again and said, “I just want to cry from the beauty of it all.”

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We exited the Kennedy Center to a fabulously cool evening and walked leisurely back to the metro, hands in hands, arms in arms, little to be said as we drank it all in together. We were quiet on the metro, each full of our own thoughts, and our goodbyes at our cars were joyous with a touch of sadness that it was over, yet hopeful as we promised to do it again. “Because there really is nothing like good friends, like the sounds of their laugher and the tones of their voices and the things they teach us…” (S. Niequist)

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Leah and I chatted for a few minutes, then slept for the ride home. Dropping Steve and Leah off, we arrived home to a very excited puppy who didn’t allow us to tiptoe through the house. My mom woke up as Coop nosed her face on the sleep sofa, “They’re home, Grandma!” Oh, that Coop.

We snuck upstairs and I drank in the beauty of my children, forcing myself to not wake them because I missed the “goodnights and I love yous.” We collapsed into bed, exhausted, yet hearts, minds and souls completely saturated with the magic of the evening.

And I am struck by the depth of it all, the splendor of it all, knowing that our eating and sharing and laughing and enjoying is done for the glory of God who created these foods and friends and rivers and views and musicians. I believe with all my heart that this night was yet another gift from our good, good Father. A taste of the new earth to come… feasting and music and fellowship and beauty. Only it will be heightened beyond comprehension and filled to the brim with Jesus.

I can’t wait.

2 responses to “Of Feasting and Music and Friendship”

  1. Oh Angie. I’m smiling and weeping for joy at your wonderful
    ” night out”. Living

    Like

  2. melissa moslow Avatar
    melissa moslow

    This was scrumptious
    all the way through the tale!

    Like

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