“It’s pizza night!”
Even every Friday.
My boys never tire of those words.
A bowl of popcorn, a favorite movie, and a few square feet of mozzarella magic, and it’s going to be a great evening.
No question about it.
In a family of four boys, food is currency, and pizza is the gold standard. As the long bones lengthen and the voices grow deeper, the double batch makes way for the quadruple batch, and leftovers in the fridge are like money in the bank.
Of course, eventually, someone gets his license, or a girlfriend (or both), and suddenly an evening at home no longer registers on the social Dow Jones. But pizza night goes on for whomever happens to be home or whomever is visiting, and the leftovers pay dividends forward — with cold pizza after a basketball practice and a heart-to-heart talk about unfair coaches; cold pizza after a shift at McDonalds and a late-night discussion about where to buy the diamond; re-heated pizza for a carload of friends who “aren’t hungry” until they realize how very welcome they are.
Food can become a metaphor for abundance. Yes, your friend can stay for dinner, because we have enough — enough food, enough space in our lives, enough love to go around.
God is also in the business of letting His children know that He is enough, and His love is inexhaustible.
That’s why the apostle Paul strains His heavenly thesaurus in Ephesians 3:18,19 (NKJV) to communicate the expanse of Christ’s love for us:
God’s love for us passes knowledge; it is vast and complete, and yet He urges us to lean into its impossible dimensions and to rest there.
When I wonder if I can absorb another change or welcome another whirling planet into the solar system of my life, these words remind me that my ability to keep on stretching the circumference of my heart depends on my continual acceptance of the love of Christ for me. If I set my boundaries small and safe, I’m leaving room only for my own love — narrow and choosy, shallow and tentative.
Slowly, slowly I am learning that the only way to really “know the love of Christ” is to leave my heart ajar to the expanse of a bigger love.
It was standing room only the last time we all got together for a pizza night — daughter-in-love, grandboy, girlfriend, and all, but somehow in the midst of all the laughter and chaos, the pizza disappeared as usual. Slicing through the last pepperoni-and-black-olive, I smiled, because pizza night is teaching me that love comes — and it fills all the space we make for it.