Today Phil and I celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary. Twenty years-- already! We've been a few places and attempted stretches far beyond our reach. This past week I was feeling somewhat subdued--looking back. Thinking how little there is to show for the effort.
Bell and I are working on Western Civ this year. We learn about legions of great people--every century has its litany. And those are the few who get a blip in a history book. History is still made up of the little people like us. [St Francis was a very small person, in stature and self-image. He didn't write, exposite, or tell anyone else what to do. People tried to copy him and before very long, made a travesty of his life and vision.]
So as I looked back, which is a healthy thing to do now and then, I realized that we are not trying to fill little buckets in Q (which all have holes, by the way) we are trying to kindle a fire that can spread from person to person.
On Thursday I visited Assma--a long-standing Muslim friend. I taught her little brother English in the Portuguese school ages ago. We worked on a few emails in English and as I was about to go, she commented on my kids. How "different" from other teenagers they were. Not like other kids with dancing, drinking and "going out" (i.e. sex) on their minds. How did I get them to be like that?
One doesn't get an opportunity that blatant very often. I was able to share with her what makes the difference when someone is different from the inside out. This wasn't the first time to share with her at depth, but what thrilled me was her repeated observation: "No, I know many Americans, but your family is different. You are more like Muslims. You care about dressing modestly, not watching too much TV, not drinking or parties. You know . . ." and a little while later she would say it again.
It's been nearly eight years with her, and she begins to see that we aren't the same as all the others. She has lived in London, traveled widely, seen many foreigners up close. What a privilege that she could see a difference. What a gift that she should mention it to me. What joy to tell her that Luke and Bell are different because they have a personal relationship with Jesus. That a heart that is changed brings a life that is changed. I think she heard me.
Next time, we'll be one step closer . . .
. . . twenty years together takes on an eternal significance for me.