Brazil - late 70's
Waves of heat wafted from the sizzling sidewalk. Crowds rushed around us, everyone in a hurry to get somewhere. Vendors hawked their wares calling out as they spied the “Americanos” in the crowd. Pots and pans, bras and fresh mangoes floated toward us held high in eager brown hands framed by hopeful faces. One by one they resignedly turned to other targets as Dad parted the waves of goods with his raised hand and a mumbled, “Nao, obrigado. No, thanks.” His other hand held mine tightly in his grip so as not to lose me. For each step he took, I did double time. I squinted up at him shielding my eyes from the hot Brazilian sun.
“Daddy, wait up!”
“Come on, slowpoke. We have to get to the bank and post office and then hurry home. Mom will have supper waiting.”
He turned his attention back to the pressing tide of people. but I noticed his gait slowed slightly. My eyes focused on the ground beneath our feet. With long, exaggerated strides, I could almost match his. “One day!” I whispered. “One day I will be able to keep up!”
Canada – early 90's
A chilly wind filled the mini-van as the door slid open.
“Brrr! Hurry up, guys. I can see the ferry already coming towards the dock.”
Bodies piled out of the van, tripping over each other in their hurry to get to the waiting area.
There was no snow and the sun was deceptively bright. The wind blowing off the water stole through our light jackets and into our bones. Dad pulled his coat closer around his neck as he and I wove between the cars in the parking lot following along companionably behind the others.
“I'm so glad Paul is coming! We'll have everyone together this Christmas for the first time in years!”
It seemed to take forever for the ferry to dock and slowly discharge its passengers. I pulled out the camcorder and started filming in anticipation of capturing this moment for posterity. As we waited, I saw Dad shiver. I panned the camera towards him as he slowly started doing a jig. His feet kept time to a lively beat while he kept his hands stuffed solidly in his pockets. It wasn't long before others started joining in the fun in an effort to keep warm. I chuckled as I caught the moment on tape. I thought, “One day! One day when I get to be that age, I want to enjoy being silly with my kids.”
Africa – 2005
Butterflies filled my stomach as we ducked into the cool, mud-hut church, a welcome relief from the oppressive heat already filling the air that morning. Mom and I were sharing the speaking at a special ladies' conference. It had sounded like a great idea at first. When she was the one speaking, I was glad to be there behind her supporting her all the way. But that day, it was my turn. I felt much more comfortable in my “behind the scenes” work of home-schooling my kids and working in the office. I looked around at the ladies as they sang and danced, babies bouncing on their backs, feet pounding on the hard packed dirt and stirring up dust and excitement with each thump.
“Lord, give me a heart of love and compassion for these ladies. Many of them walked so far to get here for this weekend. Give me words from your heart for them today.”
As I waited for the fifth choir to finish their presentation, I glanced over at my Dad. He'd chauffeured us on the long trek over pot-holed dirt roads to ensure that we could make it for this event. He shifted his position innumerable times on a straight-backed wooden chair in a room full of women so that his wife and daughter could minister to them. He might not have been as fast as he once was, but he was in it for the long haul. He and Mom sacrificed willingly and joyfully to touch the lives of others with God's Word.
I turned back to the congregation as they wrapped up their final song. I picked up my Bible and took a deep breath as my turn came. “One day, God,” I prayed. “One day let me be as committed to You and to Your people as my parents are!”
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