Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gaining Perspective...

I'm not quite sure where to begin this one... there's so much to say and not nearly enough time to say it (or, in this case, write it!).  I guess I can start with this:  As I was anxiously awaiting Jamie and Sydney's arrival in Boston, the first person I spotted from the "team" was Jane Raymo.  After a brief hug and the obvious question from me: How was the trip?  The only response Jane gave was this:  Your husband is not the same man.  Hold on... because your husband is not the same man.  I wish I could tell you what went through my mind at that moment: Joy? Relief? Confusion?  Probably a little of each. Truth be told, up until that point, I never dared to hope for anything from this missions trip.  I was afraid to be disappointed.  Jamie and I must have talked about it at least 100 times.  My trip to Nicaragua, just two years prior, had a profound effect on my walk with Christ.  I came back on fire for the Lord.  Anyone who knows me can testify to the transformation... which, unfortunately, put "pressure" on Jamie to have a similar experience... or maybe it's more accurate to say that we both feared that NOT having the same experience would be such a disappointment.  So, early on, we made the decision to not talk about expectations and to be open to whatever God was going to do... and He did a lot.

There is so much I could write about... but the one thing I want to share is this: perspective.  I don't think we ever truly appreciate how much we have grown until we're reminded of how far we have come.  This was definitely the case for Jamie. During this trip, he was assigned to a group that was responsible for building an erosion canal.  He was teamed up with a few other guys and a local, Hilario, for the project.  (See photo)  As Jamie began telling me about the work detail and the men he came to know, it was clear to see that Jane was right... my husband had changed. 

Not exactly known for forging friendships... I daresay that Jamie would admit to having only one friend (Scott Furr) took me by surprise how he spoke about the men he worked with during those long days.  There was one in particular, Eric (seen standing next to Jamie in the picture), that Jamie felt a kindred connection to... because there are striking similarities between the two of them.  The irony of this is that Eric isn't a Christian... something Jamie wasn't aware of until the end of the trip.  I think it was a pretty reasonable assumption to make... especially if you're on a missions trip, but, regardless, the truth was the same.  It was then that Jamie began sharing with me some of their conversations about faith.  He told Eric that it took eight years of enduring my constant nagging for him to become a Christian... obviously, I'm kidding (but I'm sure, at times, it felt that way). What struck me the most was listening to Jamie talk about Eric.  He kept saying that he was really surprised that Eric WASN'T a Christian because he showed all the characteristic of Christ... but it's what Jamie said next that completely rocked my world:  I can't wait to see what he's like when he does become a Christian!

For me, it was one of those surreal moments.  There's no way to know how many times I said those exact words about my own husband... how many times countless others have said the same thing.  How many times Jamie and I went round and round about how being a good person is great... but being a follower of Christ is better... because it gives you purpose, truth.  When a good person places their trust in Christ, they can take the world by fire... their goodness (which also comes from Him... whether they realize it or not!), amplified by His greatness, changes lives... starting with their own.

Jamie saw himself in Eric.  He saw where his journey began, and how far God had taken him, with more clarity, with more appreciation.  He gained a whole lot of perspective!  There are no obvious markers for our spiritual growth.  Like the worn away door frame with the markings of pencil detailing every growth spirt of our younger years.  It's easy to look back and see how much we have physically grown... that's not the case with our spiritual lives... unless we look back in journals (if we keep them) or see reminders of ourselves in others... as was the case with Eric.

When we saw Eric at church the Sunday following their return, Jamie gave him a big hug.... which was also a surprise because the ONLY men that Jamie hugs are Scott and Jared!  I immediately gave Eric a hug myself... I couldn't help it.  Even though I don't know him at all, I can't help but be endeared... I pray for Eric daily.  I thank God for putting him with Jamie.  I thank God for the testimony he is writing in both of them.  I thank God for His timing... because it IS perfect.  It was for Jamie.  It is for Eric.  It's one of the few things we can count on in life... if only I could remember it!