Wednesday, August 3, 2011

when we began

~posted by mika

disclaimer:  i really wrote this blog for my own benefit, so i don't know how much anyone else will get out of it  :)
It was November 21, 1998.  I really, truly did not see it coming at all.  Our dorm room phone rang, and my roommate answered it.  She gestured the phone in my direction and said, “Thomas wants to talk to you. “  When I answered, I noticed his voice sounded different ... excited … maybe nervous?  I had heard him lead services and speak in front of numerous audiences and he had never sounded nervous. 
“Hey, Mika!”  he said.  “I have a random question – would you like to go for a walk with me?”  It all came out in a rush.  Now, this was curious.  Thomas always called about business – to tell me what time was the next practice, what to bring on the next tour.  Thomas Simpson was ever “on task” and focused.  He was the student coordinator of our ministry team and our friendship only existed within that context.  Now, he wanted to go for a walk with me?  At 10 pm.??
 I put on my jacket and casually told Beth what I was doing.  She gave a coy smile and said, “ooooohh, Thomas wants to take you for a walk!”  I just rolled my eyes.  But the truth, in fact, was that I was feeling flattered that he was giving me special attention.   He was very warm and friendly to me – but no more to me than the other half dozen girls on our team.  Thomas didn’t give ANY girl special attention.   Mind you, I didn’t have a crush on him in any regard… but I did have a high amount of respect for him.  And a particular concern to know that he had a high opinion of me as well.
So, not giving myself time to ponder what the purpose of this walk could be, I rushed down the three flights of stairs to meet him outside my freshman dorm.  Fortunately, it was a cool but not cold autumn evening, since I was in my flannel pajama pants and my hair was still damp from my shower.   We set out toward the library, then to walk the block around the seminary.  It was all very casual small talk, most of which doesn’t register in my memory.  The most significant thing I remember was that I was surprised to feel so at ease with him.  This was surprising because I was VERY inexperienced with the whole “being along with a boy” scenario, being a na├»ve 17 yr. old who had never had a real boyfriend. 
Midnight curfew was pressing, however, so my easiness was suddenly bumped.  He paused and took a deep breath, and said, “ok, Mika… it’s time to spill the beans!”  ( haha – no rico suave, this one! )  His next string of words are etched in my memory very well.  The gist was that he really liked me and would actually like to date me, but didn’t know if that was appropriate at the time considering we were in this ministry team together.  He stated that his desire was to be upfront and not toy with my emotions, yet it was all rather vague with no formal declaration of his intentions.  It was all at once reassuring and confusing.  I did recognize, though, the vulnerable position he had put himself in, not having a clue as to how I would respond to him.  
 And I certainly didn’t have a clue how to respond!  I had rehearsed my lines many times of how to thwart a young man when such advances were made.   (because I had much independence to prove before I allowed anyone to claim my commitments!)  And I had even had a couple of go-rounds to practice my lines, apparently doing a good job.  But, now, this was different… more serious.  My words seemed to stay locked up.  Although, I’m pretty sure my eyes were betraying me.
Having said what he wanted, our conversation turned off the heavy subject of relationship and romance and very naturally led into the topic of ministry.  I could breathe deep again and formulate my thoughts. This was a topic I could handle.  I had very defined ideas of my ministry future.  I was a missions major and I planned to go overseas and start an orphanage… or help an orphanage… or do SOMETHING with orphans.  I had never told all this to Thomas, though.  I listened to him.  I loved to listen to him talk about ministry!  He was a man on fire – fresh in his young calling, consumed by the urgency of it.  It was mesmerizing just to listen and watched him burn.  Then he threw me for another loop when out of the blue he said, “You know, I could see us doing ministry together someday.”  The expression on his face told me he was surprising even himself.  Then he said, “You know what I think would be incredible?  To get to somehow help take care of orphans someday.  I can’t think of anything more fulfilling than getting to be a father to the fatherless.” 
Wait now... did he just say that??  “That’s what I would love to do someday!”  I tried not to gush, because I wanted him to take me seriously.  It was really a shocking couple of minutes as we talked some more about that dream.  I think we both felt like we had just suddenly stepped off of a sand bar into deep waters over our heads.  We really hardly knew each other… yet we were forced to smile at one another and acknowledge that there before us was a reflection of our own selves.  Our logic brought the conversation back to sure-footing.  But our hearts had already plunged in without our permission. 
A little seed was planted that night that then laid dormant for many years.  We didn’t revisit that dream very often – with our words, anyway.   We didn’t need to.  We both knew it was there, and we had a quiet confidence God would do something with it in His time.  So, the time was last spring when it finally sprouted.  And even now, it is just a little bud.  We aren’t quite sure what it will become.  But today I have to marvel.  It is our ten year anniversary, and we are celebrating it surrounded by hundreds of fatherless children. 
In all honesty, it’s been an emotionally vulnerable day for me.  I have felt very tempted by selfishness.  I didn’t want to cook a meal from scratch  - I wanted to go out to eat.  I didn’t want to take a bowl bath – I wanted a long, hot shower.  I didn’t want to entertain a dozen extra kids in our home – I wanted to find a babysitter and get alone with my husband.  It’s a special day, and I wanted to FEEL special.  But God is reminding me that THIS IS SPECIAL.  This is.  What was a dream years ago is now reality before my eyes.  We are exactly where God wants us, still so very in love, and delighted by three adorable children who call us “mama and daddy.”  There will be a day to feel special and many more celebrations to come.  But I cannot miss this opportunity to marvel and praise right now. 
 
He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Ecc. 3:11