We are just days away from our four year anniversary of our Family Day when we were forever joined as a threesome. It is a bigger milestone than your actual birthday, really.
We waited days, months, years for that day. Every so often, it would feel like the day of meeting you would never arrive. I have forgotten most of the angst that centered around that wait. There were key things in place that got me, got us, through.
I trusted the bigger picture. I trusted that God was going to take care of me, of us...of you half way around the world. It WAS all going to work out. It was going to be perfect (not necessarily easy but perfect!). 100 years ago, a few determined folks felt the same way about trusting. Your church started out meeting above a meat market of all things, on the edge of town off a dirt road. That road is far from dirt now!
So, I have been neck-deep in the planning of this big event with our friends at church. Daddy and you have given me the space to do it and joined in when I needed help. Poring over documents and photos has kept me up late and made me cranky in the morning, fumbling for a big cup of coffee. I appreciate you giving me a break on those days.
|The original building in the early 1900's (after the meat market!).|
In 2005 your church suffered a devastating fire. I was involved pretty heavily in the restoration that took almost two years to complete.
See? There is just one reason you didn't come to us in the time frame I wanted...God had plans. I had 'stuff' to do before you arrived.
And the finished product was well worth the wait. There isn't a morning that I sit in this space that I don't think about what we accomplished; how beautiful we rebuilt it.
Seeing your Daddy contribute to the service each Sunday makes my heart happy, too. Daddy 'married into' this, you see. I have spent every day of my life here while he has gradually found his place. It works.
Just last week, I was able to open the book of the Roll of Members from 100 years ago. I ran my fingertips across the names of those who started this, who heard the call and said, "Yep. We're going to build this!" History is important, Ella. I hope we teach you that...
And then your Mama ended up in the newspaper on the front page of the Religion Section about our Ah-men!
On Tuesday, our city awarded us with a Proclamation at its city council meeting. I packed up Panda and you and we hit City Hall. Daddy met us there as well as some of our other friends from church. It was wonderful. You were there for all of it, even if you did get a bit squirrely from no nap.
Without a doubt, this photo is my favorite. There you are, our youngest member holding the document honoring our 100 years in our community. Look close enough, Ella, and you can see that even Panda made this photo!!
For nearly four years now, you have known no other routine: Sunday mornings we get up, get you dressed in one of your awesome outfits and head to Ah-men. You started out crawling around on the floor during the service. Now you pack everything but the kitchen sink and stay occupied, quiet and (relatively) attentive during the entire service. I marvel sometimes at how comfortable you are there, how you navigate the sprawling building with such ease, much like I did. You listen and I am reminded by your keen ears when I hear you re-telling stories from your little picture Bible to the cats, or to Panda. Little seeds are being sprinkled.
I don't know where your faith will lead you. I am not 100% certain where your Ah-men will be in 20 years, let alone another 100, but I feel confident that we are doing our part. We are steeping you in what is very real to us.
Faith sustained us as we waited for you. Your Ah-men sustained us.
I hope you enjoy this weekend packed with celebration. Mama may cry, but you are fully aware of what happy tears mean. You can even join me.
PS: I mentioned your 'squirrely' behavior at City Hall? Well, I took you out in the lobby to blow off some steam as we waited our turn on the agenda. Well worth it! You experienced your first revolving door and you were completely fascinated.
And then you found an old piano that had been painted by your Shu Shu John. You recognized his style right away!
|Prettiest Eyes Ever!|