I was following my big sister, skillfully hopping from rock to rock, traversing the mighty river (actually, just a tiny creek). Then everything went wrong. I slipped on a tipsy rock and plunged into the icy water. Trying to steady myself and recover meant that the other shoe went in as well. Man overboard. Cold, sopping wet socks and shoes, sidelining me from the adventure with my sister, and the tears came… like a real river. Cue the 8mm movie camera.
I couldn't breathe. Eyes squeezed tight with only the sound of water, that dreamy echo of bubbles and deafness, pulsing around me. My mind filled in the rest. Sometimes it's best to just keep your eyes closed when you know something bad is happening. Pull the covers over your head and it all goes away. Eventually you'll make it back to the surface. Just hold on for another second. Oxygen and light will drive away this dark, cloudy swirl of the unknown. Except I didn't make it to the surface. A massive wall of water picked up this husky 44 year old and threw me to the bottom.
We would have a home with Jesus. We would live with Him, talk to him, be welcomed by Him. I was only a teenager, but for that moment, I forgot the sweat and the smell of fresh cut grass and my heart was cut deep with the joy of having a home forever with Jesus.
I can picture the looks on the disciples, the crowd, the friends sent by the centurion. A brief moment of stunned silence. A camel with a mouthful of hay, pausing in between chews, turning its head to recognize a holy moment. The Creator of heaven and earth just said something about a man who wasn't even in the room (he sent the elders the first time, his friends the second).
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. March, 2000.
We asked for a crib. They delivered a cage. It wasn't much bigger than a suitcase and had bars on the sides. We both looked at it and knew this would not be the place our little girl would sleep on her first night with us. My first job as a Daddy would be to construct a make-shift sleeping cubby in between the beds of this little hotel room - in the middle of a communist country. Our American phobias of germs and airborne disease probably pushed me to overdo it; I built a clean room in between those beds. It didn't matter though. She had been in it for less than a minute before her little cry pushed this first-time Daddy into Seal Team Six mode. I grabbed her and placed her between us in the bed.