Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Day (Negative) 31

We've made it to Seattle and we are now 31 days away from Ava's scheduled transplant on November 21st.  Back in Chicago, while walking to our gate at O'Hare we bump into our friend Stephen from Naperville.  He is on the same flight for a business trip.  We either look pitifully needy or he's just so thoughtful, because right away he promises to help us with our six pieces of luggage once we land in Seattle.  I know for sure that it's both.  Outside with our luggage, my Uncle Sam is already waiting with carseats ready (thanks, Virginia!), and Esther and the girls are on the road south to Kent.  I am about to take a cab North to Bellevue to borrow Jenny & Eugene's vehicle, but a woman who is being picked up by her husband recognizes my uncle.  This couple live in Bellevue - in the very same neighborhood where I need to be.  So they offer to drive me there and to also chill at their place until it's time to pick up the car.


I make fast friends with their dog Ender (half hybrid Australian Shepherd/Golden Retriever, half German Shepherd), and most of all enjoy hearing this couple's story of how they put their faith in Christ.  This won't do justice to how she told it, but I'd like to get it down on paper:

Over twenty years ago, her husband is invited to study the Bible and after just six months he decides to put his faith in Jesus.  She thinks he is completely crazy (even though he's a super smart guy who ranked #1 at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing).  So she calls all his other super smart buddies to ask if they think he's gone nuts, and they say, "Don't worry - he probably knows what he's doing." Everything changes at an airport terminal in Seattle, where they wait to board a plane to Shanghai.  Her son falls asleep on her lap and she puts him down across the chairs and also sets her purse down.  She stands up briefly to greet a friend who's on the same flight.  Just then, she turns around and sees a person run off with her purse.  She and her husband pursue, and just as the thief is getting into his car, her husband reaches him but can't do much.  She catches up but puts herself in a dangerous position by running right in front of the vehicle.  She is unable to explain exactly how, but something moves her body out of the way so that only the side of the vehicle brushes against her and she is unharmed.

Her entire family's passports, tickets, and $2000 in cash are gone.  The cash was from a friend who needed them to bring it to an ailing relative.  She is completely distraught over this, and as they return home unable to go to China, her husband's Christian community tries to comfort them and promises to pray for them during their weekly prayer meeting, which happens to be that night.  Later that night, they receive a phone call from an elderly woman who says that she has the purse.  It contains everything (passports & tickets) except the cash, and the plan is to for them to pick it up the next morning.  While there, the elderly woman happily returns the purse but can tell how upset she still is. So she invites her into her home.  As she is being led to one of the bedrooms, she thinks she might be asked to relax a bit and lie down.  But when she enters, there is someone inside.  The elderly woman makes a brief introduction and then repeats to this man the entire story of what had happened at the airport. But he just sits there, making several strange mono-syllabic noises.  After that, they move on to a second room belonging to a young lady.  It's clear that she also cannot not grasp the meaning of the story or acknowledge her visitors.

Back in the hall, the elderly woman explains that these two individuals had suffered mental handicaps early in life and were abandoned by their biological parents.  At a home for disabled and abandoned teenagers, this elderly couple had chosen to take them in because they wanted to give them a family of their own.  After hearing this story, she is speechless and deep shame fills her heart.  She beings to weep and the elderly woman says, "I understand that you lost a large amount of money.  My husband and I have $600 that we'd like to give you in order to help out with this loss."  The woman replies, "I won't accept your money and I'm not weeping over the lost money. I'm weeping because of how little love I have in my life.  Everything I do for my children, I do because they are my own.  But you have poured out so much love for these people who are not even your children."  The elderly woman explains, "This love comes from Jesus."

From that point on, her heart becomes open to going to Bible studies and meeting with the Christian fellowship group that her husband had been a part of.  She begins to realize that she is not this perfect person who doesn't need God.  She begins to sense within herself a great lacking of the love that was exhibited by the elderly couple as well as the caring individuals who spent time praying for them.  This group of friends ended up raising and donating to them more than the $2000 that had been lost.  It's now been over twenty years that this family has been with this church.  They invited us to visit at some point during our few months here in Seattle, and I look forward to it.


I was then dropped off probably less than a mile away to meet Jenny and borrow their Honda Pilot. Jenny warned me about hitting some bad traffic.  When I hear about bad traffic, I just don't want to go anywhere because Chicago traffic is frustrating like a thousand piece double sided puzzle.  I've been smart enough to never attempt one of those puzzles.  But why I have found myself stuck on the Kennedy hundreds of times I cannot understand.

I hit the road anyway, but slowly begin to realize that I don't think I'm ever going to be late to anything while living here in Seattle.  This traffic is awesome!!

When I get home, Esther and the girls are Skyping with my parents who are still in China.  Everything seems great until Gwen sneezes and snot trails out of her nose.  Like a good dad, I wipe it away with my bare hand and back onto her shirt.  I smile ever so slightly, just a little upward movement at the corner of my mouth.  Gwen sees this and screams, "It's NOT funny!"  With that, she starts coughing and gets really riled up.  She throws up absolutely everything that she ate for dinner. Esther and I then realize that the all-day coughing and now this 2nd time of hurling is more serious than we had hoped.  Thankfully, Dr. Crawford (Ava and Gwen's pediatrician) is so wonderfully available as she has always been, and we are able to get the medicine Gwen needs.

Before heading out to Walgreen's, my uncle asks if I want to borrow his bullet proof vest. I'm sure he's kidding, but his concern for my safety in and around the town of Kent is quite serious.  He asks if I'd like him to accompany me there, but I'm too proud of where I've come from.  I've brought a big piece of Chicago with me.  While I haven't stopped any bullets or anything, I have brought A LOT of love, prayer and back up from our people back home in the Midwest.  So my peace of mind is legitimate. This has been a great first day in the State of Washington.

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