Monday, May 17, 2010

Touched and Lost Touch

We have just completed a whirlwind vacation to Boston and New York City. Our trip featured historical, cultural and entertainment venues.

After visiting friends in Tennessee, we began our trip, unexpectedly, by visiting Stonewall Jackson's home and grave. Once in Boston we attended a baseball game at Fenway Park and watched the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays must have brought their Canadian weather with them because the temperature was in the 40s with a wind chill which felt like 20 degrees.

We walked the Freedom Trail and saw our history come alive. We stood where early citizens debated unfair taxation, and saw the graves of John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. We saw the site of the first American public school. We stood outside the Old North Church.

We attended the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra with John Williams conducting and listened to music so beautiful it brought tears to our eyes. It was a magical evening in a magical symphony hall.

We traveled to Plymouth, MA and visited Plymouth Rock, where my great, great, great. . .let's just say 13 generations ago, my ancestor Deacon John Doan came to Plymouth Colony. The quaint village and the personal significance made this a favorite among our visits.

We wandered the streets of the North End of Boston, also known as Little Italy. We found the most wonderful Italian grocery and bought bread, cheese and olives. We enjoyed listening to the Italians banter their greetings back and forth.

We visited Walden Pond. The pond was breathtaking in its simplicity and beauty.

In New York we walked through Times Square with its flashing lights and colorful signs. We stood on the top of Rockefeller Center and looked down on a town wearing a mysterious shawl of fog. We marveled from above at the size of Central Park.

We walked to Greenwich Village and participated in a Food Tasting Tour which presented us with different types of food and taught us historical and cultural facts of the area as well. This tour introduced us to a pastry shop with the best pastries I have ever put in my mouth. I am thrilled to know they ship. They will be making my birthday cake!

We took the ferry to Liberty Island to visit Lady Liberty herself. We walked up her pedestal to view the city. We stood in awe of her size, her beauty and her perfect symbolism of freedom, liberty and the American spirit.

We ended our trip by visiting the beautiful and haunting battle ground of Gettysburg.

While in New York, we visited Central Park, which gave us the one truly negative, and one incredibly positive incident during the trip.

I was sitting on a bench in the Park, Glen and the girls were dispersed nearby. An older gentleman came and sat on the bench with me. We didn't speak at first, which seems to be the mode of operation in New York.

Glen came up to me and I showed him on my ipod Touch our exact location in the park. If you are not familiar with an ipod Touch, it is a small electronic device -- a hand-held computer -- about the size of a deck of cards which can do just about anything. This device contains all my appointments, my address book, my music, my Bible, and tools I use throughout the day to help me do the things I need to do.

Showing Glen the map, prompted the gentleman to ask if we needed the map of the park he was using. Glen explained we had it there on the device. This started the conversation between us. Soon his wife walked up and joined us. Jerry, the gentleman, was a retired pastor. He and his wife Elaine, were visiting their grandson in New York. We had a wonderful chat and shared that bond that people have when they know the same Lord.

Toward the end of our conversation, I reached into my purse to pull out one of Glen's cards to give Jerry and Elaine. In doing so, I either put my Touch in my lap, or set it on the bench without thinking. Either way, when we stood up to leave, my thoughts weren't on the Touch, they were on the people who had so just touched my heart.

We separated from each other discussing how we knew we would "see each other again."

It only took a few minutes for me to realize I had lost my Touch, but even in that short amount of time, someone had already picked it up. It was gone and I was distraught. All my information, all my tools were in that device.

As is often the case when we deal with loss, it takes a moment for faith to catch up with grief. If I didn't know that the Lord orchestrates our steps, I would find it ironic that I had just been reading the chapter in A.W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God entitled, "The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing". Incidentally, I had been reading in on my Touch.

I wiped the tears of disappointment from my eyes and in doing so dislodged my last contact. It fell down into the dirt of Central Park and remains there to this day. I knew that even though I had lost a thing, I had gained so much more. The encouragement, the love, the bond of Christ that had been shared with Jerry and Elaine were worth so much more to me than a thing. I came to realize that if I could do it all over again, and enter Central Park in a way that would allow me to avoid Jerry and Elaine, and to exit with my Touch still in my purse, that would not be my choice. I would do it just the same way.

For years we had a sign on our wall that said, "God and people are eternal. Everything else is just stuff." I often wonder when I read quotes if the people who say those things live up to them. Now it is my choice, and I choose to. I am the author of that quote.

I can choose to because I prefer the touch from the children of God we met, to the electronic Touch made by man. I know that one day I will enter the Kingdom of Heaven and at some point a gentleman with a sweet grin and a twinkle in his eye will walk up to me and say, "I told you I'd see you again!"

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