I'm not sure how many people get life changing experiences but I seem to get them by the bag full (is that a saying?). God just seems to want to impart remarkable wisdom in my life, like sprinkles on a cupcake. You don't have to look very hard to find remarkable stories in the military. You also don't need to look very hard to find stories of suffering, heartbreak, courage, and people who come from a completely different life than yours.
I remember sitting on the couch talking to this guy from RJs work. He has to be one of the most (if not the most) humble guys I have ever met. He grew up pretty poor in Detroit, Michigan and later joined the military. When they showed him the house he would be living in, he was amazed! You know, the "crappy" on post housing everyone complains about. He told the lady that it was huge compared to where he grew up. Huge?! Sometimes I think that It's a privilege to grow up with nothing because it gives you incredible character. I'm not sure what words I would use to describe him and his wife, but I think that content is the only one that comes to mind. Seems like such a simple word, right? But it is so rare. So incredibly rare, like a shakespeare signature. It seems that you find so little contentment in the world anymore.
I cherish these "chance" meetings with people that have come into our life for such a small amount of time but have made the greatest impact. I will never forget a card that our friend wrote to us before he left that said my life is forever better because of you guys. I don't think he could have know how much that would impact us, but it did. It was like a huge reassurance from God that we made the right choice. Both RJ and i have wondered if we made the right choice by moving so far from our family. How would God use us? Would we make a difference? Is this where we were suppose to be? It seems the longer we're here the more that doubt fades away. I don't think that we made a rash choice by joining the military or that God is working out a bad decision we made. The longer we're here, the more I see how God worked everything out for us to be here. I think the same is true from everyone we meet (like my father in law would say, It's like theres a God).
I can't say that It's been easy, that there hasn't been times where I wish I was home, or have literally said I miss my mom (which I didn't think was possible to utter out loud). But it has been an incredible experience! No, not the ARMY, but God. We have an opportunity to experience Christians from all over the world. They each have unique gifts, and personalities, and stories. The more people we meet, the more we fall in love with God. To meet someone that has lived an entirely different life than you, but they love God just the same. It gives me such an incredible sense of hope. To add to the things that I am thankful for in this experience, this one is at the very top of my list. I OFTEN get bogged down with what seems to be an increasing disdain for Christians in the world. It's really easy for me to feel alone. But through all of the people I meet, I am encouraged that God is working!! Even if the rest of the world doesn't want to acknowledge it. There is a very real, very present God in NY, and He seems to be constantly moving His people around.
The card we received from our friend went on to say that he hopes to impact someone else the way we have impacted him. What I wish I could have told him is that he already has. I don't know that any of our friends know that. It's not by giving awesome gifts, or killer parties, or even particularly fun activities, but just by being them. By giving me a sense of hope that i don't think i could have gotten any other way. It's like those scenes in movies when you see the girl the guy likes and everything is in slow motion and bright. Is that a weird description to use? Thats just how I feel, ok! I feel a bright, slow motion, sense of emotion towards my friends. This seems to be getting weirder the longer I type. So I will just say that people have a lot more to offer than we often see, and everyone can impact your life if you just allow them to. Which now that I'm typing this out seems like I could have summarized this whole thing in a couple of sentences. But if you powered through all that, you're awesome, and I love you. But don't worry I won't picture you in a slow motion, bright light kind of way.