Tuesday, April 10, 2012

See You Soon


From A Severe Mercy p. 123
"On that last day I met C.S. Lewis at the Eastgate for lunch. We talked, I recall, about death or, rather, awakening after death. Whatever it would be like, we thought, our response to it would be, “Why, of course! Of course it’s like this. How else could it have possibly been.” We both chuckled at that. I said it would be a sort of coming home, and he agreed... “At all events,” he said with a cheerful grin, “we’ll certainly meet again, here–or there.” Then it was time to go, and we drained our mugs. When we emerged onto on to the busy High with the traffic streaming past, we shook hands, and he said: “I shan’t say good-bye. We’ll meet again.” Then he plunged into the traffic. I stood there watching him. When he reached the pavement on the other side, he turned around as though he knew somehow that I would still be standing there in front of the Eastgate. Then he raised his voice in a great roar that easily overcame the noise of the cars and buses. Heads turned and at least one car swerved, “Besides,” he bellowed with a great grin, “Christians NEVER say goodbye!”

"Can I Skype you?" she says.
"Yes!" I say.
Finally, after months of having little bits of communication through letters, we are able to talk. The webcam finally works since we changed our internet carrier. She comes up all smiles, and is happy to see my baby belly.

Every so often, the Father brings people into our lives that become like family. He, like a master workman, weaves them into the fabric of our lives so much so that we can't imagine not having them as friends. Upon a week after meeting her, I told her I felt like the Father had brought her into my life at the right time for a very specific purpose. She had experienced what I was walking through, and trying to make sense of. (It didn't make sense.) She understood because she had been there. Her compassion didn't stoop to condescend to my questionings, didn't give her own advice, but was present. Her husband noticed we were upset one Sunday, and asked why. We'd tried to keep things to ourselves, after all, this was ours to bear. But I'd been crying and there isn't much you can hide when your eyes and nose are red. Joseph told him what had happened, and he said, "Ah, my wife will be back this week. She had the same problem. We will meet again." And from there, a friendship was born.

Over time, surgery, cups of coffee, lunches and dinners we got to know and appreciate one another. We played badminton every Saturday together. They had room in their lives for us, and we for them. We found their friendship in the oddest of places, yet, they were true. We were their first American friends, and they, our first French friends. But we didn't quite see it that way. We were friends learning to understand one another. Love, bridging cultures, the Father, changing our lives. True people living in love towards others in a strange land, and sharing His love with those whose lives intertwined with ours.

And still when the Skype call ends, I see her eyes tear up in the same way she would when she thought of something nostalgic, if she felt deeply someone else's sorrow, or if she was saying 'goodbye'. And I think back to those days of sitting with her on her couch, cup of coffee in hand, chatting near her orchids. Suddenly, she doesn't seem so far.

"Do you have time to Skype?"

Let's just make the goodbye short. Instead, it's a 'see you soon.'

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