The Leaves are Falling. Part 2

Trip Start Aug 07, 2009
Trip End Dec 31, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Friday, October 30, 2009

As leaves fall, giving way to the snow that will cover the bare branches, something amazing happens.  If you are willing to look past and through what you might first perceive as dead trees, a wonderful thing awaits.  You can see so much more than you could when the branches were cluttered with leaves.  Windows open up in your field of vision to see what's been beyond the tree the whole time, but that which you couldn't see through the leaves.

Isn't God good?

Our next Tomtom address is that of Wayne and Karen.  Wayne is the director of Campus Life in Wilkes-Barre (pronounced like WIlk's-Barry).  Maj had set it up for us that we would have dinner tonight with their family.  Our first reaction was almost a dissapointment.  We really wanted to get to our hotel, relax, get dinner, and settle down for an exciting night of some of our favorite TV shows.  (Monk at 9, White Collar at 10.  And tonight, there was a special night, special time House on Fox at 8!)  But, we weren't left with a choice as we were expected to be guests at Wayne's dinner table that night.

And this is what I mean about God's goodness:  I was very sad to leave Scranton and the friends we'd made there.  And we'd never have known Wayne and Karen if we'd stayed in Scranton.  But when those relationships were gone, a new road became visible.

We found their house about 4:00.  When we knocked on the door, only 80% sure it was the right house, a 6'4" friend opened up with a smile.  "Hi!  Good to see you!  Come on in." came from his mouth before we responded with "Are you Wayne?"  We felt like we'd just stopped by an old friend's house.  Not like we were meeting strangers for the first time who were obligated to feed us.

We walked in to meet the family.  Wayne is a tall, blonde, handsome faced man in his late twenties.  Karen is 5'2, naturally curly, blonde, hair and the warmest smile that lit up her round face.  From around the kitchen counter popped two small heads.  Querida, 6, has light blonde hair pushed out of her pretty face with a bright yellow headband.  My foot got run over by a monster truck controlld by 4-year-old Taylor who looked like a miniature version of his dad.

Karen appologized that she didn't know what we liked to eat, and hope dinner would be OK.  It was perfect, my favorite meal, in fact.  She had made roast beef with cooked carrots, onions and potatoes.  Raspberry iced tea was to drink.  And Michael was happy to see every color of grape on the table.

Conversation began and continued naturally.  We shared stories of the trials God had brought us through and how He'd trained us to face them.  We laughed at mishaps along the way, and genuinely enjoyed each other's company.  We talked a lot about plans.  We make plans and have ideas about where life will take us.  But it never seems to work out - and always for the better. Wayne battled cancer about three years ago.  Karen talked about how had God not taken her through what, at the time, were really difficult times, she wouldn't have been able to handle her husband's illness.  But trials make us stronger.  I've learned it's usually because harder trials are coming for which we will need the strength.  In her case, God had used a variety of situations to challenge what she perceived as comfort.  He took away steady income, he took away a home, he took away the plans she had made.  Finally he took the strength from her husband.  She learned that the one she needs to trust, the one she needs to rely on, the one in which she needs to find her comfort is Christ.  She, as I often do, had looked to her surroundings, her home, her husband, and forgotten God's provision.  Wayne is now Cancer free, and their family is stronger than ever.

After dinner, we all sat in the living room.  Karen and I were on opposite couches, continuing the chatter from the table.  Michael quickly became engrossed in the Duplos the kids had strewn on the floor.  And Wayne kept entertained between playing with Mike and the kids and commenting on Karen's stories as she told them to me.  They were both so happy to see us play with their kids instead of having to send the kids away to play while we "talked like adults."  "That's just not our family." said Wayne, "So thanks for joining us as we are."

It was 8:30 before we realized how much time had passed.  We all pitched in to clean up the train tracks that now covered all free floor space, which we had all pitched in to build.  And around 9:00 we said good-bye, but not before Wayne prayed for us at the door.

This year will have people coming and going from our days.  The joy and color is not in settling into those relationships, as many times we are literally just passing through.  But the joy is in delighting in the moments as they present themselves.  The joy is in delighting in the leaves before they fall.
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