We Are Family

Airport arrivals are infinitely better than departures. The anticipation of being reunited, the face-forward expectancy, eyes scanning, the running and hugging. I much prefer arrivals over watching the ones I love disappear smaller and farther into the faraway.

Jonathan returned from his college visit back East. He will be making his final decision in the coming days. While he was gone I was struck with the blessing of my family in the faith. I have yet to meet in person the Cru staff at this University, but the Missional Team Leader connected with me and then connected Jonathan with one of his student leaders. The student leader and some of his friends met Jonathan for lunch and showed him around the campus the day he arrived. What comfort it brought me to know he was meeting with family.

Our nieces stayed with us during their spring break. They invited along another friend who was also far away from home. Instant connection with their friend. Reunited with family I hadn’t known and yet being together felt so familiar.

A while back our vacuum cleaner stopped turning on when I flipped the switch. Really, it’s quite rare the switch gets switched at all. The vacuum sits with the ironing board in the hall closet and neither of those two items see much light of day. I went to what I thought was a vacuum repair store only to be met by a salesman who told me repairing it would cost me $250 and to trade in my old vacuum for his $980 one. “Uh, no thank you.”

I walked out with the broken vacuum and placed it back into my car and then remembered a tiny shop near our home I had seen while driving around. The store window advertised a mix of key making and shoe and vacuum cleaner repair. Anything seemed better than $980 so I unloaded the vacuum and carried it to the door. Inside a kind faced Korean man with very broken English explained he could fix the vacuum for $30. I noticed on his cash register the Christian fish symbol and pointed to it. Then with hand motions and slow, loud words (why do we think being louder helps someone who speaks another mother tongue understand us better?) tried to communicate I, too, knew and loved Jesus.

He pulled out his Korean Bible and shared a verse with me. I took out my English Bible and found the verse and read it. I then shared some verses back for him to look up in Korean. We couldn’t carry on a conversation but through our shared love for God and His Word, we were communicating on a soul level. I met family I didn’t know I had.

I was reading from that same Bible on a cross-country flight with Darrin. He sat on the aisle seat, me in the middle and another man at the window. The flight attendant walking by took notice and we struck up a conversation. Instant connection. We learned we had mutual friends. A couple at her church were students we worked with back at UCLA. Our shared faith allowed us to talk about matters of the heart. We knew God was crossing our paths for His purposes. We listened with understanding regarding our faith journey’s and encouraged one another to keep trusting God and to not lose heart. She was working first class and came by later with huge, warmchocolate chip cookies for us. (So that’s what I’m missing behind those first class curtains!). I shared some of my cookie with the man next to me. Not Darrin. He had his own cookie. The other guy. The man asked me,

“How long have you known her?”

“Oh, we just met.”

“Really? You seem to be like long-lost friends.”

Not long-lost friends. We are family.