Saturday, July 09, 2016

The Circle of Life 2.0

Last night was wonderful. I want to tell you all about it, but it involves a lot of background.

From 1992 to 1994 I lived in the country of Mexico as a short-term missionary. The first year I was there, I spent time daily with an amazing family that has impacted my life ever since.

Ben, Faith and their four kids were my lifeline that first year as I was learning Spanish and getting acclimated to a new culture. I hung out with them often. Faith was 34 at the time I moved there and Ben was ancient (Ben has always been ancient). Even though Faith was only six years older than I, she became my mentor and I hung on her every word (even though she probably didn't know that). Her infectious laugh, the way she would say "Bless" after something that she heard that she found endearing, and her ability to see humor in lots of things was such a blessing to me.

Fast forward 20 years and some of my kids and I visited Ben and Faith and some of their children several times. When we went in November of 2011 I posted this first Circle of Life post. It focusing on the youngest, Benji, who was only three when I moved there.

Below is a picture of the three girls who look EXACTLY like I remember them. I even remember the school uniforms.

This is a picture of the four of them a year ago that I stole off someone's Facebook. :-)

And if you want to see more pictures or hear more about the family, you can click here to hear about my visit in 2009

So there is your background. The past several times that we have visited Ben and Faith and the kids, the oldest, Lindsey has not been home so I hadn't seen her since 1995 when Bart and I visited them in Marion, Indiana. It was on that trip that Bart decided to marry me -- and he said that if I had such fine people as this family who loved me, I must be pretty awesome myself.

When we moved to Virginia for some reason I noticed on Facebook that Lindsey and her husband were living a little over an hour from here and we have been trying to set up a visit. We had to cancel once, but last night, we showed up and were greeted by these four adorable kids.

Lindsey introduced us to her husband Nate who we immediately liked.

It was a very surreal night. Lindsey is SO much like her mom. She laughs just likes her. She cooks food that's just as good as her (our favorite tacos from a taco stand in Mexico). She says "bless." She has a gentle, nurturing spirit and quietly guides her children, speaking to them in Spanish, just like her mother did. Lindsey's kids are almost the same age as she and her siblings were when I did life with them in 1992-93.

Lindsey is wise like her mom too, and I found myself back in time, looking up to and listening to her wisdom, just like I was 28 again. As I left I realized that i'm actually now 52, and I'm old enough to be Lindsey's mom, but I had been taken back in time.

Our youngest son, and Lindsey's oldest, hung out together. And their youngest, who is named Isaac, is nearly the same age as our grandson Isaac. This is the only picture i took last night, but Nate sure had fun giving this much ice cream to Isaac ... and Isaac enjoyed picking fun at his mom by pretending he was going to eat it all.

So there we were... all the ways our lives are interwoven staring me in the face. The rich history of relationships bound together over the year's by Christ's love. Memories shared of times together. Basking in the memories of -- and in the realities of -- living life with amazing people. And in the middle of all this, when Nate learned that he and I had experienced similar work challenges lately, he stopped us all in the middle of the conversation to pray for me.

It was profound. It was powerful. It was the essence of what Christian community looks like.

And it transformed my crappy week into a good one, all in three hours.

Thanks, Nate and Lindsey... Thanks, Ben and Faith. Thanks Virginia, Danielle, and Benji. And most importantly, thank you God.

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