December 17, 2014
I almost never remember dreaming at night but I awakened this morning at 3:30 am remembering a strange dream. It involved delivering a box of data to Mark Wiltgen, one of my friends from my earliest days at Mayo, but also someone I haven’t seen in in a very long time, at a bar of all places. Also present and giving me a clear message was my last boss at Mayo, Mike Garry. He let me know, in no uncertain terms, that he and the team were handling whatever problem the data pertained to, and that I wasn’t to worry about it. Remembering a dream was strange enough, in and of itself, that I decided to write it down in an, infrequent journal entry. However, God wasn’t quite finished with the special effects for the night.
On my very last morning in Guatemala in October, I met Pedro Matzar, a young man who runs a boat taxi business, on Lake Atitlan. Somehow my broken Spanish and his broken English managed to get us through a half hour conversation where we found out that we had struggled with a common enemy, addiction to alcohol and, in his case, drugs. He has 5 small children and works to get them educated, as well as feed them and clothe them. As is often the case with the financially poor indigenous Guatemalans I have met, he has a very rich, strong and fundamental faith that leads him to believe, as I also do, that without God’s help, his life would be much different. It seems likely that without God’s help in overcoming our dependency problems, we might both be dead right now.
Pedro and I made a connection that morning and exchanged contact information. We have been communicating with short messages through Facebook ever since. To get back to this morning, I grabbed my phone on the way to the bathroom since I intended to jot down a few words about that dream in my journal. Pedro’s response to my last message jumped out at me from the initial sign-on screen. I had told him that my answers to his message had been less frequent since I was in Japan visiting my stepson, Jeremy. His response was “Cuidate mucho john DIOS TE VENDIGA.. FELIZ BIAJE EN JAPON.” My translation is ‘Take much care, John. God bless you. Happy journey in Japan!”
Today will be my last full day in Japan. We plan to spend about half the day in Tokyo, returning to Yokosuka to spend the later part of the day with Jeremy and his family. My use of the word family has expanded greatly since my college days. It used to mean blood relatives. Today it includes a much broader spectrum of people who have shown me that, for whatever reason, they care about me. These final visits to family, those with whom I have trusted relationships both by blood and by proven action over time, before our big transition to a life in service in Guatemala, are full of reflection and learnings on my part.
My primary learning this morning is this, the old life continues to wind down and the new life beckons. God will provide…new meaning, new friends and new family…as well as continued relationships and meaning with those we have known and loved for much longer periods of time.
God is great!…
All the time!
May you feel and recognize God moving in your life, today and always!