After we closed on our house but before we had left California, Tommy had the brilliant idea to call our one and only neighbor, ostensibly to introduce ourselves, but really because we were scared that the reason our house had been on the market for so long was that it shared a fence with some kind of psycho, like an axe murderer or an amateur metal-band guitarist. Much to our relief, the littler white house is owned by a single, retired army officer who does genealogy reports for families and is the music director at his church. He told us that the storm door on our house was broken and that there were a lot of walnut trees. Whew! Another bullet dodged! And we would have been perfectly content had it ended there, but it didn’t.
Flash forward to Mike-Tyson-punches-you-while-you’re-in-labor-and-have-food-poisoning. Here comes Gordon, his elastic-waist, polyester shorts neatly pressed, white beard trimmed just so, his arms filled with love and kindness. The minute he got off the phone that day with Tommy, you see, he started collecting things for us- event calendars, family activities lists, local newspapers, coupons to nearby restaurants. In another basket was a coffee mug filled with Hershey’s kisses and mints and a wooden pen that he had carved by hand after he found out that Tommy was a woodworker. And rolled up neatly with all the other goodies was this amazing list that he had put together just for us, filled with all his trusted service-people and friends, in case we needed anything when we arrived.
This beautiful list has been used and abused and loved and is still absolutely indispensable to us on this journey, all because of the kindness of a stranger. And to top it off, as if all that wasn’t already enough, we found out that he had his entire congregation praying for our safety and happiness as we drove our silly selves across this great country. Hundreds of people that we didn’t even know had been thinking, hoping, praying that we, a little family from California who they might never know would make it safely to our new home. The light of Christ shown brightly on us that afternoon and we knew everything would be okay.