Wednesday, June 25, 2008

JSIFS Road Trip 2008: Day Five

Day Five: Two undisclosed locations in South Carolina to Mebane, NC.
Miles Covered: About 350
Weather Outside of Van: Hot.
Weather Inside of Van: ARE WE THERE YET?!?!?

Tuesday morning we waved goodbye to Kitchen Madonna and headed out into the wild blue yonder, braking briefly for ducks. DMR pelted the kids with colored pencils and gum while I punched the address into Gertrude. (NOTE TO SELF: Send a memo to Garmine to include a "family trip" mode, which adds 15 minutes per child to each leg of the journey to allow for unsynchronized potty breaks and general orneriness.)

The next leg of the trip was, like so much of life, unsettling joy. A while back a childhood friend Googled me, and we've been in touch via e-mail. When we had an opportunity for a short visit, she welcomed us into her home for a kid-friendly meal of chicken nuggets and we had almost two hours to visit while DMR ran the children outside.

Wendy is my age, but her body is slowly falling apart. Diabetes. Stroke. Stage four kidney failure. Her children are grown and leaving the nest; her husband left her for a younger model (what an incredible idiot) years ago. She needs a kidney transplant. She misses her daughter, who is riding motorcycles and conducting children's outreaches in Zambia. And yet, I didn't detect a single iota of pity or anger about any of this in her. We talked about suffering, how God can use the pain we offer back to Him for His glory. And I marveled at her faith. And despite the fact that we hadn't seen each other in almost 25 years, I found it very hard to leave.

Please pray for Wendy. For her marriage and her family. For her daughter in Zambia. For her health. For the person who is going to donate the kidney she needs. While you're at it, pray for me, too ... That I would be the kind of friend Wendy needs right now.

Three hours later, we arrived at my sister's house ... and DMR's brother arrived to pick them up and take them the next four hours to Norfolk, VA. We'll meet up again tomorrow ... but this way the Reinhard clan will have a couple of days of Saxton-free R&R. And I suspect we'll all be much better off because of it.

My niece Holly is getting reach to head out on a mission trip of her own. My nephew Ryan will be arriving on Saturday for what may well be his last day of leave before heading off to Iraq. Chris says she has asked him NOT to give her the details of his training. "I started doing that when he told me they were training him to go in and 'clean buildings' by shooting anything that moved ... and that he was being trained as 'first one in.'"

Lord, today I'd like to say a prayer for soldiers everywhere. For my nephew. For other friends and family members as well. That whether they are the first in, or wait on the sidelines to clean up the aftermath, that their bodies remain safe, and their souls be unharmed.

St. Michael the Archangel, patron of soldiers, send your armies to do what must be done, that all war might cease, and justice prevail. Mary, Mother of us all, pray for us.

1 comment:

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur said...

Oh my goodness, I'm tired just reading your posts for the past few days. You are definitely a braver woman than I! I'm sure that it is an experience that you never will forget!

Best wishes,