Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
So there we were, sitting around the table with some of the wonderful friends who have prayed us through so much in the parenting realm for so many years, and my phone rings. It’s Andrew.
Me: “Hi, Andrew. Mama and I are sitting here with our small group. They all want to know how you’re doing?”Andrew: “You can tell them she said ‘Yes!’”Me: “Hey, everyone. Andrew said to tell you Alicia said ‘YES.’”
(Note: If you’re looking for sound effects to go with this post, then imagine LOUD PANDEMONIUM BREAKS OUT right here!)
This, I have to admit, is where the writer part of me simply can’t keep up. I don’t have it. I’m a good writer, I know this, but there aren’t any words that I can type into this post that will more than roughly hone in on the emotion I felt – and Rebekah too – when Andrew passed on the marvelous news.
HISTORY: I could easily go all the way back to middle school and beyond (In fact, this story really begins in Atlanta, in Piedmont Hospital on a Father’s Day). But in the interests of time I’ll fast-forward to Bahrain, where Andrew showed up just a few weeks after a beautiful young mission school teacher named Alicia Pashby moved on to Kiev.
At the base chapel, Andrew was “adopted” by Donna and Bob Hudson (They’re an American family who had also reached out to Alicia during her stay). Before long, the Hudsons told them both they needed to meet. Andrew and Alicia, while deeply respectful of the Hudsons’ advice, did absolutely nothing. They didn’t even exchange an email.
More than a year later, Andrew moved back to Italy.
THE WHEELS WERE TURNING: In the fall of 2011, Alicia planned to attend a family wedding (second cousins) in northern Italy, somewhere near Venice. She didn’t speak Italian, she knew nobody there. And so, on a whim, Alicia sent Andrew a message. “Hi Andrew, I’m Alicia Pashby. We both know the Hudsons. Do you want to be my escort to an Italian wedding?”
Mr. Adventure said yes.
So he drove the 400-plus miles to northern Italy,”crashed’ the wedding, and introduced himself to Alicia. They pretty-much talked non-stop for 48 hours. He ended up in some of the wedding photos.
A few weeks later Andrew and Alicia met up in Vienna. Their next date was in Kiev. Then it was Tuscany; later, Milan.
Meanwhile they talked on Skype several times a week. Andrew joined Alicia’s Bible-study group and participated via Skype. It was pretty obvious to us that this relationship was not only special, but providential.
THE SHINY OBJECT:When Andrew came home for the family cruise at the end of April, he was on a quest for – in his words – a “Shiny Object.”
The result was, in a word, spectacular. Andrew has evidently cultivated some highly refined taste over the years!
BEYOND COMPRESSED CARBON: However, what has been priceless to me, and to Rebekah, has been to watch this relationship move forward in the context not only of friendship, love and affection, but of transformational faith.
By the grace of God, both Andrew and Alicia have reached this stage of their lives without compromising their foundational commitment to live as followers of The Way of Jesus. In fact, it is very much evident to those of us who love them that they are both still growing as faithful practitioners of “The Life-Charged Life.”
BLESSING: So I’ll close this most joy-filled of posts with the following blessing:
May the early sweetness of your love move naturally into the rich satisfaction that is a life-long journey. Take the challenges, the opportunities, the graces, the pitfalls, the surprises, the constant adventure… and meet it all head on with the faithfulness and commitment that characterize the kind of relationships that God uses to literally change the world for good. Love is – always – a choice; you have chosen one-another, and you have chosen well. God’s rich blessings and abundant, grace-laden, love.- DEREK… DAD