You probably won’t believe me, and I don’t know why you would. I tried to screen record our conversation for all of my friends, which I did successfully; however, my brain does not understand technology, so it’s really just a silent video of the seconds increasing on a call with an unknown number. Convincing, huh?
Mr. Bob, if you’re reading this, like you said you would, please confirm the validity of my words! Or if not, that’s cool too. It’s actually pretty cool to have a secret with you.
For those of you unfamiliar with Bob Goff and Sweet Maria, close this blog right now and get yourself a copy of Love Does, Love Lives Here, and Everybody Always. You’re sitting at home indefinitely, at least for the next thirty days, so c’mon, we both know you have time for this! And kiddos (my favorite people group to be honest), he has a children’s version! It’s much more colorful, and kids love it. I read it to my little fifth grade muffins, and they smiled from ear to ear every time we paused to read about the love of Jesus and those who love Him. (They also got two skittles every time we read aloud, which may have amplified their excitement.)
Bob and Sweet Maria have a gentle way of reminding us in their books that we are called to love one another. It’s pretty cool though, because this command comes from Jesus – the Son of God, our Savior, Lord of all, Creator of all things, Messiah, the One who was, who is, and is to come. To my friends whose eyes just got big and criss-crossed and are thinking woah this blog isn’t for me…. Please give me one more minute to convince you!!!
Until about three years ago, nobody had ever told me that Jesus also calls His followers “friends.” The book of John records Jesus saying, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” What an invitation!! Think of all that is encompassed by the word “friend.” Sacrifice. Honesty. Selflessness. Commitment. Joy. Love. Empathy. These are some of the words that come to mind for me, and we are invited to share such a relationship with Jesus. In fact, He desires that we would.
In this time of social distancing, friendship has looked a little different, but it has presented more opportunities to strengthen relationships and maybe reconnect with those that slowly faded from our calendars.
Bob and Maria Goff extend invitations of friendship often. In fact, that is precisely why I started this blog! At the back of Bob’s books, he wrote his phone number for anyone to call him anytime. Anyone, anytime. So one month into my marriage and three weeks into this quarantine, a friend encouraged me to dial the number, and I gave it a shot!
Here’s how the beginning of our conversation began….
“Hi this is Bob.”
“What? Really? I didn’t think you’d answer, so I don’t even have anything to say.”
SERIOUSLY?? Good goin, Ash. Way to start things off well.
At this point you may be thinking, how did we get here… 500 words into a blog? Well, Bob and I got to talking about our lives in quarantine when I mentioned that James and I just got married. I told him I am trying to adapt to this new “normal,” as well as the new “normal” that marriage itself creates. And out came the unforgettable words of Bob… “You should write a book!”
What? I don’t write books. You write books. I change out of my night pajamas to put on my day pajamas, talk to my dog like he’s my actual child, stumble over my words, laugh at my own jokes, and eat cream cheese as often as I can. I don’t write books.
He continued… “It doesn’t have to be Hemingway or anything; just write a book about your marriage. Come up with chapter ideas with your husband and just start writing!”
WHAT. Did my favorite author just mention my second favorite author and me writing a book in the same sentence?!
That was it. He answered. He mentioned Hemingway. He said I should write a book. I mean, what was I supposed to say?
I almost referenced Hemingway in response. “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” I memorized this quote in college, and I loved it, but now it seems like a really lame thing to say in response. Luckily, my brain had conveniently turned into absolute mush and I blurted out, “You’re will”
You’re will? Seriously, Ashleigh. Act normal, please.
“Uh… I mean, you’re right! I will!”
And so it began.
I have no idea how to write a book. But I once created a blog for my students, so I think this is more my speed.
Welcome!! This is officially entry number one of the Leave, Cleave, Quarantine blog. The future of this blog is as certain as this time of social distancing. As I do with most things, I’m just making it up as I go.
When I scrambled to share this story about my new friend Bob with J, I told him it put an extra pep in my step this morning and giggled because my hands were shaking like leaves as I tried to clip my toenails. Why was I trying to clip my toenails while I talked to Bob Goff? Nothing about this experience makes sense. My words came out as scrambled as eggs. and I was out of breath before I let him speak. I was able to muster out the question about chapter ideas, though, and J said, “Are we even through chapter 1?”
So that is where this all will begin. Are we even through chapter 1? Stay tuned for posts of complete transparency, vulnerability, and scrambled eggs. Words. Scrambled words.
Just a couple one month into marriage. Stumbling through this quarantine. Stumbling through friendship and trying to agree on what groceries we need. Stumbling through sacrifice, honesty, selflessness, commitment, joy, love, and empathy. Stumbling through the choice to live a marriage that resembles the marriage of Jesus and the church. We invite you to stumble with us.
Just as we look to the living Word of God for wisdom and discernment, and we look to Bob Goff and Sweet Maria for gentle reminders of love and friendship and Jesus, we look to you. For connection during quarantine. For encouragement when we feel like we’ve failed. For tips and tricks on doing life with your best friend and how to share bathroom counter space. So please text us. Call us. Send us a zoom. Anyone, anytime. 913-486-8234
We could use all the help we can get. After all, we’re not even through chapter one.