I have a magnet that hangs on my fridge that states how I once felt about our family happenings. It declares, “If it is not in a scrapbook then it didn’t happen”. Pre moving to Papua, Indonesia I was an avid scrapbooker. However, I did not take my papers, glues, pens, stickers, albums, and more (much more) with me, because I believed that the humidity would be to harsh on them. Instead I became a blogger. In many ways blogging has been much more fun because it has allowed YOU to come with me and I am so grateful you have. Your prayers, interest, words of encouragement, and readership have all been more inspiring than an album of photos that rarely gets opened.
I am sure that some of the things I write about are humdrum to you…but something really important happened this summer and as the new saying should go, “If it is not in the blog, than maybe it didn’t happen.” Well, we do not want that to be true, do we? So, bear with me as I log a few beautiful facts about some precious people. Perhaps you can glean something from this reflection.
We saw so many friends from Papua this summer in America. Way more than normal. First, we stayed with Jan Roberts in Washington while we hung out with our University kids. While there we also connected with Heidi, Eric and Jason Roberts and peered and prayed into their lives at a meaningful juncture. At a picnic we met up with Verna and Steve Canaday who came to Papua and helped Darron with a church build project.
From Washington we leaped to Tennessee and then onto South Carolina to visit with my parents. While there I realized that Alicia Higdon had just landed a job at BJU nursing department, only minutes from my parents’ home. How fun to reconnect as she has finished her master’s in nursing education (the same degree I am working on) and is branching out in the world of teaching. We worked together for 2 years in Papua.
Back in Tennessee, we met up with the Elliott’s who had hung out with us throughout the years in Papua and were dear friends to the Roberts. One evening Darron and I met Mandy and Zach half-way at a State park in Georgia. Mandy and I loved to do women’s ministry retreats, and events together. We also did clinical everything together. We even did a snake bite medivac once together. Both families are relocating in America and it was good to hear their stories of how that is going. It is harder to return than it is to go (for many). We saw former students who had come to volunteer in Papua, including Nick and Paige, Seth, and Ashley. We also met with 2 university guys that were in high school with our boys in Indonesia and now attend our alma mater.
One day I drove Knoxville to meet with my dear mentor and friend Dr. Di (and her husband Larry). They had driven 3.5 hours out of there way to see me, which was significant as they were on a long road trip. The last thing most people want to do on a road trip is add more hours. How extremely special to reconnect in some down-home diner that got high Yelp ratings in Knoxville. Way better than the diner breakfast was our time together.
I also must attach to this Papua memory blog, the memory that we had visitors back in February to Lebanon. Tracy and Alex came to see us. Despite snowstorms, threatening revolutions marching right past us as we were trying to sight see, lost suitcases, and more we had a great time together. While the guys chattered about history and politics, Tracy and I shared heart to heart. In addition, we ate lots of amazing Lebanese food, saw old ruins, retrieved suitcases, visted a refugee school, made a house call, and importantly talked about a place that very few people understand.
Perhaps that is, in part, why these people are so precious and why they must be in the blog…because they understand 8 significant years of our lives that many cannot even begin to imagine. So, thank you dear friends for being intentional to reconnect, and to be. That being entailed being honest and to talk about what was, and what is. Not all of it was easy, not all of it was great, but all of us would agree that it was meaningful, special, life changing, and a part of our hearts is still there. Each of you are a gift to us.
Is there anyone you need to be intentional to connect with? More so in this time when we are so disconnected by social distancing and home quarantining? Are there people that were in your past, that understand a significant time and place in your life that no one else could or would? Perhaps this blog will inspire you to be intentional to reach out to them soon, in a way that no one else can.