The Story Woven

The ground was white with snow.

We were spending the weekend in a "cabin" -- sort of a hunting retreat -- in the middle of nowhere, four hours' drive, slow behind the plow/salt truck. It was a long weekend for most of us, with no classes on Monday for MLK day, and we were taking some time to sleep and read, do homework and cook and catch up with each other's lives. With no internet access. With no phone service, except the landline, kept for emergencies.

And so -- Saturday -- we went for a walk in the woods. (A suibien kind of walk, my Chinese friends would say. It took me a while to explain that to my roommate once. I said I was going for a walk. "Where?" she asked. "Around campus," I said. "Where?" she asked. "I don't know," I said. "Nowhere." She stared at me. "Why?" "No reason, I just want to." She smiled. "Oh, a a suibien walk," she said, with understanding. It took me longer to get a general feel for what suibien meant. Random. Whatever you want.)

We slipped around on the ice and put our feet through where it was thin, endangering our shoes with the hidden pockets of freezing, muddy water. We posed on the hillside and took pictures.

And on our way back to the cabin, I took a deep breath. Thinking again about Proverbs 3:27, about a conversation that I had known I wanted to have from the time I decided to go to the cabin for that weekend.

Proverbs 3:17 says: Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. I tend to think of that especially in terms of encouraging people, when you have a sense of perspective on their life that they are likely to not be able to see on their own.

If you've read older posts, maybe you've seen this one, the one called It's a Wonderful Life. If you haven't, the story makes more sense if you read it.

So I walked a little faster and caught up to him. We talked about jobs and school and such. And then I took another breath and said Thank you. I don't really remember exactly how I explained it. But I know that he is continuing to be in positions of authority; he has a wife, he has men under him. And he has much to offer in terms of growing them.

It unlocked parts of the weekend that wouldn't have been there, otherwise. Some laughter, because we got to know each other better than we would have. Some discussion, washing dishes -- So what has God been teaching you? What have you been learning? -- that came far more naturally when we knew that there was a context for it to fall into, that we'd already been part of the same conversation, if not really introduced to each other before.
It is beautiful how God weaves life together.

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