Garage Time

June 10, 2009 | 20 comments

Some of the most profound revelations of my adult life have happened in the confines of a garage.

I might even go so far as to call our garage Holy Ground — a sacred space without frills or decoration. Just four walls, four wicker chairs and four neighbors gathering as the moon rises on yet another Iowa night.

In the summer, the four of us open the windows to let in a cool June breeze, and to hear the coyote call. In the winter, we huddle closer, wear thick socks and turn on the heater in the corner.

When life gets crazy
or we need a gut check
or someone just needs a good cry
(or a good laugh),
the call goes out:
“I need my garage time.”

Life happens in the garage.

The four of us — my husband and I and the couple down the road — have been doing this for about four years now.

We have a motto: “What happens in the garage, stays in the garage.” Because in the garage, we’ve dealt with some pretty heavy stuff in our lives — the sort of stuff that you need to talk over with someone you can trust.

We pick the ugliest, dirtiest place of the house to “come clean” before God and before each other. We gravitate toward the garage. And we talk over the stuff of life.

Not the surface stuff, but the stuff underneath. The stuff that matters.

So this email came from the neighbors last night:

“Sis and Bro ~ are you available for garage time tonite? Just let us know.”

We had some things to discuss.


There’s just something safe about the garage.

Even Mother Cat knows it’s true. Yesterday morning, Scott left to do chores as the sun rose. He accidentally left the garage door open, and by the time I stepped into the morning air at 8 a.m., I could hear the high-pitched cry of four baby kittens in the corner. Their eyes were newly open. To them, everything in view was something new to behold.

Mother Cat had birthed these kittens weeks earlier, but we’d been unable to find them. With garage door open, Mother Cat carried each one in to this safe haven.

Now, they were here in my sacred space, making a furry nest in a tipped-over Rubbermaid container.

A hungry quartet
clinging to one another and
to the one who gave them life,
on my Holy Ground
seeing with new eyes.


And that’s where four friends found themselves as the sun disappeared over Iowa last night: on concrete-covered Holy Ground.

A hungry quartet, we were.
A nest of four,
clinging to one another
and to the One who gave us life,

who knew our needs before
we spoke them.

Garage Time.

Our neighbor, Rob, pulled papers from a manila envelope. They were photos of the inside of Rob’s eye — medical evidence in our hands of the diagnosis he had received.

Rob, 41, found out he has an eye disease with progressive loss of vision, often ending in blindness. Here’s a guy who has 20/20 vision right now, but may be legally blind in a few years, depending on where this all leads.

We talked a lot about what he hopes to see between now and then. We talked about how the rest of us — with the blessing of sight — take it for granted. And we talked about how life in darkness doesn’t mean that we’re living life without The Light.

The soul has eyes of its own.

“We walk by faith, not by sight.” — 2 Corinthians 5:7

In one corner of the garage, four baby kittens saw a world with brand-new eyes.

In another corner, we did, too.


“What happens in the garage, stays in the garage” is our motto. Yet Gracious Rob allowed me to share his story here, so long as it would bring God glory.

by | June 10, 2009 | 20 comments


  1. PW

    Neat place to share your hearts, even the animals sense it. God has great plans in all of your lives, because of you all meeting together, sharing, praying, etc.

  2. Steph

    Praise God for friends, garages and new life! Praying for Rob and his situation. Awesome post!

  3. patty

    What an indescribable blessing to have intimate allies; I know my own fellowship of the heart is utterly essential. Thank you, as always, for sharing.

    p.s.I love the way you interweave poetry with prose…catches me off guard everytime.

  4. Get Real Girl

    Thank you so much for sharing. This is a beautiful post. If only we could all find a place to get so real with God and with our friends.

  5. RCUBEs

    It reminds me of how Paul was imprisoned yet he kept on rejoicing because he has so much joy in his heart. We might think that the garage is an uncomfortable place for a gathering but you just proved it that the place doesn't matter. It's the willingness of the heart to meet together and be open with each other as you worship together too. That's awesome that you and your neighbors have each other, be able to trust each other and have that special "garage time". That is precious. May the Lord heal Rob's eyes. God bless you and may the Lord fill that garage with His light and love. [The mother cat sensed that…].

  6. Andrea

    Beautiful! What a gift with words you have! Visiting you is such an inspiration!

    Many blessings to you!


  7. Wendy

    You know, it's funny you should mention a place to go and deal with things/have deep moments. My first novel has just such a place for the MC and her family – the sunroom. I am drawn in by the way you write things!
    ~ Wendy

  8. Angie Vik

    As always, great insights. But I don't expect any less from you. I showed your blog to friend who likes to write devotionals as an example of a place to share the things God had taught her. She liked it too, but I knew she would.
    Thanks for listening to God and sharing what He says.

  9. Chele

    Hi! I came over from Girlfriends Get Real. Awesome post and awesome blog altogether! I will be back! It is awesome that you and your husband can share those kinds of things with another couple!! Have a blessed day!

  10. Pfeiffer Photos

    Just found your blog this morning and I'm enjoying it very much. Love your name, banner and overall theme. Your writing is gaining a new follower! 🙂

  11. elaine @ peace for the journey

    ummmm, ummmm, ummm. Now that's southern for "that's something"!

    Love this, Jennifer. You weave some of the best remembrances around.


  12. Lyla Lindquist

    These hungry quartets…they are rare. Treasure this gift the gracious One has given you. I've prayed for Rob and his family, and for you and yours as you walk with him.

    Thank Rob for us for permitting you to share his story here.

  13. Jennifer

    Thank you all for your prayers, dear ones. I will let Rob know.

  14. patty

    Jennifer, I responded on my blog to your question…

  15. Lori

    You continually point towards Him who has the answers in unexpected ways.
    Keep up the God Work!

  16. Deb

    How wonderful that you have a place. Friends. And an intimate relationship with the one, true God.

    An unbeatable combination.

  17. katdish

    Wow. You are an incredibly good writer! Finding the spiritual in the everyday.

  18. Billy Coffey

    We all need these sacred spaces with close friends, places where burdens are shared. It may be a garage, but it's also holy ground.

    That was wonderful, Jennifer. Prayers for Rob.

  19. Tea With Tiffany

    You always write a post worth reading. Thank you for speaking deep into the heart about what really matters.


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