The Journey – Back Home

After Jack gained his composure, he asked Miguel where Mary and Shelly were. “That’s why I called you to come down here,” Miguel said quietly. On the phone, Miguel told Jack Shelly was in need but wouldn’t tell him what she was in need of. Jack was a bit discouraged and very much wanted to get on the next plane to Kansas City because he felt Miguel brought him down here for selfish reasons.

Miguel promised Jack’s dad many years ago he would take care of Jack and Shelly if anything happened. Although he didn’t fulfill this promise, Miguel hoped Jack had a bit of his dad in him. Miguel was in need of Jack’s help to take care of him and Mary. Miguel went on to explain to Jack that Shelly was back at the house with Mary. Mary’s health had declined and there was nothing the doctors could do for her. Mary had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Miguel knew he needed help with the school, Mary and the farm. Shelly requested Miguel call Jack to come down and use any story to get him to come. She knew he would come but just didn’t know how he would react once there.

Jack couldn’t believe how much he remembered of the village as Miguel drove him to the house where he lived 20 years earlier. They passed the courts where some kids were playing dodge ball and basketball just as Jack did in his early years. There was a baseball diamond, the lot, where Jack learned how much fun one person could have for an entire day playing baseball. They also passed the school where he learned to read and where he knew Shelly taught. As they passed the school, Jack couldn’t help but tear up thinking about his parents. Behind the school was the jungle. This is where Jack would go and think when he was younger and the place of refuge with his dad. They spent many days out there but after he lost his parents, he didn’t go back.

As they pulled in front of the house, Jack couldn’t hold back any longer. He burst out in tears and told himself this was a good thing. Shelly was in there and now life could start over in the same place it had ended 20 years ago. Shelly greeted him as he came in and as they hugged, he thought back to the last time he hugged his sister in this house. It was the night his parents were taken by the men at gun point. Mary & Miguel had hidden the kids from the tribe leaders so they wouldn’t be taken. Jack never thanked Mary & Miguel for hiding them because he really just wanted to be with his parents.

Shelly and Jack were able to talk and as they did, Mary came into the room to see who was there. She couldn’t remember Jack’s name but she did call him John, Jack’s father. This brought a whole new level of pain to Jack and he just wanted to run far away. But he knew Mary needed help and knew by trying to help her, he would be helping himself. As the four of them talked, Jack and Shelly were able to find out so much about their parents they had never heard. The good times, the bad times, the people they taught, the people who taught them. So many names and so many people who missed them. But none of them more than Jack and Shelly.

Talking to Miguel and Mary was good for Jack. For him, it was a time to heal he thought. But he had no idea what the next days would bring. The hope of healing his heart is what he had but the promise of finding something lost so many years ago was emerging.

To be continued…..

The Journey Continues

As Jack flew, his stomach began knotting up. He couldn’t sleep, drink or eat. All he could do was wonder why at this time he was headed back. Would it be different this time or would he again be very disappointed? Jack was still in awe of the phone call. For the first time in a while, Jack had hope.

Shelly had been gone for 4 years now and she hadn’t talked to Jack except at Christmas and birthdays. But this call was different. It wasn’t Christmas or anyone’s birthday and it wasn’t Shelly. Jack was continually worried about Shelly but knew no news was good news. Well, that’s what he thought. But when the phone rang and he answered it, he had a felling something was wrong.

The person on the other end was Miguel, his dad’s best friend who he hadn’t talked to since he left 20 years earlier. Miguel and his wife Mary had taken Shelly in when she moved back to teach. They were the only stability Jack and Shelly had after their parents were taken and they looked after them until their aunt came and brought them back to the states. But Jack couldn’t believe what Miguel was saying.

Miguel and Mary were also teachers and Jack blamed Miguel for him losing his parents. Jack felt Miguel didn’t look hard enough for his parents and felt he could have done more to get their release. But Miguel sat back and and told Jack and Shelly it was out of his control. Forgiveness for this was not something high on Jack’s list.

Jack really never wanted to head back to this place. He never wanted to see Miguel and Mary but knew his dad would be disappointed if he went on with life without searching for the truth. As the pilot asked the flight attendants to prepare for landing, all he wanted to do was head back to Kansas City instead of getting off the plane.

Will Miguel recognize him or will he recognize Miguel? Will Shelly ever be able to forgive him for the way he acted when she left and for the words he spoke? Will the memories be too much to handle? Jack knew he had to but he didn’t want to get off the plane. But as the entire plane emptied, Jack decided to take the first step to recovery and walk off the plane.

As Jack walked off the plane, he noticed Miguel and collapsed in his arms. Jack was back home and now the recovery was to begin, thus beginning all over again. He knew what he had to do this time but he was skeptical. Jack had a return ticket and was not going to stay more than 30 days. Miguel talked him into staying a month on the phone but Jack had no idea what he would find in these 30 days and how his life would change.

To be continued…..

The Journey Begins

Jack’s curiosity and wild spirit drove his actions but this time he was reserved. He couldn’t even think about going but yet something inside was telling him to go. It was miles away. Another country, another culture, a much different language. But still he wondered why he got the call. Why not someone else? Do I seriously need to go? And with that thought, Jack’s decision was set. He would go and see but didn’t think he would stay long.

There was so much to do to get ready. His passport was ready but had never been stamped, well, not since he last saw his parents. Jack was born in the remote jungle around the Amazon and came to the states with his sister, Shelly, and aunt when he was 8. His parents were captured and presumed dead. The only family he had was Shelly and and their aunt who didn’t want to raise kids. They came back to the states and began a new life. One without stability, parents or a clear future.

That was then and not much had changed over the years.  Jack often wondered about his parents. Why did they want to raise a family there? Why were his parents always having people over? Why did they have to answer the door that night? Why is all that went through his head for the last 20 years.

Jack’s parents were teachers in the Amazon. They spoke 3 languages and had the respect of most of the tribes. But there was one tribe, the most feared tribe, that didn’t want them there any more. Jack and his sister wondered why they stayed but their dad always said it was their calling. “We’ll stay here forever kids, however long that is,” he would say.

Jack wondered about them often and said he’d go back if he had the chance but once before, he said no. But Jack’s sister always wanted to follow in her parent’s footsteps. So after college, only 4 years ago, Shelly went back to the Amazon to teach. Jack was furious with her decision but like their dad said, it was a calling and there was no holding her back.

But this time it was different. The voice on the phone was too familiar and coudn’t believe who it was and what they were saying. Jack got everything he needed in place for the journey. Tickets were purchased, good byes to his friends were said and Jack was on his way. Leaving Kansas City was easy, the hard part would be getting off the plane. Going to a place with lots of history and bad memories. But he knew this would be different.

To be continued…

Curb Appeal or Real??

While cleaning up my yard last weekend, I began thinking. I know it’s scary when I start thinking about anything but here’s what I came up with.

I noticed when we were done cleaning up the yard I was more worried about the front being cleaner than the back. I noticed that there weren’t half the amount of leaves in the front as there were in the back. I noticed that I spent more time and energy on getting the front looking better than the back. After we finished, I sat and wondered why. I thought about it long and hard and finally God gave me something.

He showed me that our lives are much like front and back yards. The front yard appears to be clean and everything’s great. We make sure the weeds are gone, the grass is cut and we have fertilized enough to make everything look good. But in the back, there are weeds, missing grass, things out of place, trash and dogs and kids running wild. I finally started wrapping my brain around this and thought WOW, our lives are like our yards. The front is open for everyone to see. The back is guarded by a fence and in order to see what’s going on back there we have to allow people in. We can’t stop anyone from seeing the front but they have to be invited in or they have to invade our privacy to see what’s going on in the back.

I think this is how our lives are. We have a great showing on the outside (front yard) but inside (back yard), things are chaotic and weeds are growing. Things get out of place here but as long as we can continue having a front that is clean we think all is well. This is not the case though. Even if we have an appearance of the front being clean and perfect, deep down if things aren’t well, we have trouble inviting people in to see who we really are.

On this Thanksgiving, I urge you all to take a look at yourself, outside and inside. It’s easy to have the appearance everything’s good in the front yard but if you never let anyone in the back yard, you may never know anything’s wrong deep down.
Our lives are much like curb appeal. Curb appeal may sell someone to come inside but they may not buy it if you are not real. Are you real or do you just have curb appeal?? Happy Thanksgiving!

Love you all!!

myspace or facebook?

I have recently become some sort of a facebook junky, as many of you know, but I just can’t help it. I have found many friends from the past there and it’s good to catch up with them. But it seems to me there is some sort of difference between myspace and facebook. Yes, I have a page on both services but I really like facebook just a whole lot more. I bring this up because in this age of computers, phones and other communication devices, people have lost personal touch. Not only have we lost our skills to communicate with each other in person but to a point we have lost our desire to do so. We have also lost the art of developing relationships with each other without online services. This becomes a danger on so many levels.

What I have noticed in my life is that when my relationships begin to suffer with people, so does my relationship with God. We are in danger of closing out people and God and this cannot happen. We will let anyone see our lives on myspace or facebook but does it really tell the truth of who we are? In fact, some probably do but we can still hide certain things in the words and pictures. But when we have a personal relationship, it’s much harder to hide things. And please remember you can’t hide anything from God.

So, with all of this myspace or facebook talk, maybe we should try a couple of things. Maybe we should allow people to get into “myspace” and find out who we really are, no matter how scary that could be. Start spending time with those close to you and those you want to learn more about. It’s actually fun getting to know people but please remember, it’s hard at times. And just maybe we should get on our face with THE BOOK! Spend some time on your face in prayer and in the Bible studying God’s Word. You will be blessed more and more by doing this, even if you don’t realize it’s happening. God just wants you to pursue you and bless you with His words and love! Don’t close people out because when you do, it becomes easier to close God out.

Love you all!