Over the last month, we were on “the trip of a lifetime.” It was an opportunity for rest and renewal and, most importantly, multiple experiences of love.
The most visible experiences of love were found in the journey, which was itself a gift from God. It is quite special that we were given the privilege of being gone for an entire month to wander around Europe. It was love that gave us access to enough resources for us to visit Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, England, Holland, and Norway. The surprising part was that we were on the receiving end of so many acts of generosity, that expressed love from friends toward us.
The love expressed in the beauty of a world made by God for human habitation and the loving dedication of humans to the production of beauty over many centuries, gave us much to discover in country-sides, architecture and in the history of each place. And we tried to grab onto this endless series of love gifts by taking lots of pictures. They will serve as reminders of the loving gift we have received. A month away was the time and space we needed to break free from pressures, discover and wander together, and get some perspective on the ongoing project of living and becoming. These kinds of experiences renew us and energize us so we can live our lives to love each other and to love others.
Though gifts are never deserved, it would not have been hard, once the journey was planned, for us to already anticipate these gifts from God’s hand. Indeed, we were grateful even before we departed.
What made this trip so unique and so refreshing were deliberate acts of love by friends at each step of the journey. We have been global wanderers for most of our married life, and you would be justified to expect that we have friends in every port. So, I want to make it clear that the love I am talking about is not merely that we received the opportunity to spend time, in each place, with special people who make up “our network.” Rather in each place friends were unexpectedly generous to us. They paid our airfare, shared their time, their homes, their businesses, gave us lodging and food, took us on outings, gave us space and time to rest, and shared their stories and their lives. They made specific efforts to help us rest, and help us celebrate.
And the love they gave us paid off! They made our journey even more enriching; refreshed our souls and our bodies, widened our smiles and increased our joy.
This is what we looked like by the last week of the trip!
Ultimately, the generous love of friends at each step of the journey made us think about our own acts of love toward others. It costs something to pay attention and act deliberately to enrich the lives of the people that God brings into our space.
Where is the love? We found it everywhere!
Thank you for your love! In your love, we see God.