Subtitled: Or How Not to Make a Good First Impression
A few years ago, I met Tammy in cyberspace. I think I first "knew" her from an adoption.com forum, but I really got to know her once our adoptions went south. There was a group for us whose kids were taking the long-road-home from Guatemala. This group of long-road-homers became my lifeline in the darkest days of Cupcake's adoption.
Within this group of elite women, a few became close friends. These were my sisters-in-Christ, prayer warriors, and encouragers. We connected at a deep level. We were on the same page. We laughed together, prayed together, cried on each others' shoulders, and did the happy dance - all through the magic of the internet. Tammy was one of them.
So, two years ago, when we learned our family reunion would be in Tennessee, I shot Tammy an email to ask if they lived anywhere near Fall Creek Falls. Sure enough, it was a short drive to their town. It looked like we would have the opportunity to meet face to face. :-D
Fast forward to this summer. It just so happened that Sunshine wanted to go with our church Youth Group to a white water rafting trip in Tennessee just days before our reunion. It just so happened that the youth would still be in TN when we got there. And it just so happened that one of the leaders would need to leave on Saturday morning for a family commitment. And, it just so happened that he would be driving right through Tammy's neck of the woods. And, it just so happened that Sunshine would need to be picked up near there right around noontime.
It sounds to me like God was orchestrating things just a little bit.
So, we made plans for everyone to meet up at a local pizza place at noon.
A funny thing happened on the way to meet Tammy.
Or a series of unfortunate events, depending on how you look at it.
First off, MapQuest could not find the park on its system, so we chose the nearest town to drive from when we planned our vacation. It told us it would take 1 hour, 10 minutes. So we planned on leaving the park around 10:30. That would give us 20 minutes of extra time in case we got lost.
Sugar wanted to paddle-boat with the cousins early in the morning, so she had orders to be back by 10:00.
We took the other kids and drove up to the falls around 9:30. As we pulled into the parking lot at the falls, we heard rumbling way off in the distance. Someone commented, "Sounds like we might get some rain today." As we walked up the trail to the scenic overlook, it began to cloud up. We spent approximately 20 seconds looking at the falls.
We were caught in a deluge, completely soaked to the bone.
By 10:00, we were all back at the Inn. Everyone had to change.
In the scramble, Steve gasped something about the time zones.
The park was on Central Time and Chattanooga was on Eastern Time.
That meant we were an hour late!
We scrambled out the door, looking like drowned rats.
When we got to the car, the GPS took us a different way than MapQuest, and it told us it was a 2 hour trip! It turns out, the "nearest" town to the park is about an hour away and the "next nearest" is only about 45 minutes away - Mountain roads.
Of course, we got behind an RV. On mountain roads. Then it rained. Then it poured. Then there was construction. We called both Tammy and Sunshine's youth leader to let them know what had happened. They were all VERY GRACIOUS. They waited for us.
And waited for us.
We finally arrived an hour and a half late, looking like something the cat dragged in.
And it was AWESOME!
It was like we were old friends who had never missed a day. We sat right down and talked about everything under the sun. It was warm and welcoming and comfortable. They were gracious, and kind and generous. Oh, the hospitality they showed! They bought us lunch, and desert, and then they gave us tickets to Rock City. We felt like VIP's. We were blown away by their kindness.
And their kids...all 6, from the full-grown to the toddler were well-behaved, friendly, gentle...and obviously patient, after all that waiting. Here are the little ones.
What a blessing to finally get to meet them! The fellowship of believers is one of the greatest "perks" of Christianity. It's not just having something in common. It is a deep knowing that these people have also knelt at the foot of the cross. They've given their lives to the Savior. In return, He gave them new and abundant life. They walk through this life forgiven and hopeful. We worship and serve the same God. We have both experienced the love of Jesus Christ. I can see it in their eyes. And that is the sweetest kind of friendship I know.
Blessings to you,