While out on the beach there are two empty chairs that say more than the people who ever sit there.

Jimmy Buffett, Lone Palm, Fruitcakes; UMG recordings, 1994

They’re nothing special – you can pick them up in any hardware store. But without them, would I stay still long enough to notice the big, beautiful world just outside my door? Without a second chair, how would I catch a glimpse of the inner life of the friends, neighbors, and family members who grace my life with their presence?

In Jimmy Buffett’s song, I figured that the empty chairs represented missed opportunities – no one ever sat there. But it could just as easily mean that the chairs themselves speak to what time and vantage point offer us every day: a shared glimpse of the inner and outer worlds we inhabit.

A view, a loving other, and an awareness of their value. For these valuable things, I thank you, God.

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

2 thoughts on “Chairs”

  1. Pam and I joke that while we’ve seen two Adirondack chairs in countless lovely settings…we’ve never seen anyone sitting in them! But you’re right–there is a kind of easy personification–the arms, the legs, the back–and it’s easy to imagine a conversation between the two Adirondacks.

    1. Why is that – the empty Adirondacks at beaches, on hills, in gardens? They are photogenic empty, but better if they foster life and fulfill their chair destinies! Thanks, David. Peace, Johnna

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