We are leaving Virginia this afternoon and I am ready. Not ready for home yet, which is good since we aren't headed home, but ready to live outside the 4 walls of this hotel room.
The best part of the trip has been catching up with old friends. We were able to hang out with one of Cale's good friends from college when we went into DC on Saturday. Tuesday night we were invited to dinner with a friend I went to high school with. Actually, I think we went to the same school since third grade, but we were never friends until our senior year. Wendi and I actually became better friends in college despite the fact that she was in Georgia and I was in New York. We haven't seen each other since December 2000 at her wedding, but we have kept touch intermittently and that has been enough.
Wendi and her husband, Stephen, moved to this area a little over a year ago so he could go to seminary. They are a really interesting couple (and I mean that in they best possible way, not in the way-I-can't-think-of-anything-else-nice-to-say-way) and our evening was filled with great food (thanks Stephen), crazy stories of war time brides, Ferrari's and having babies in barns, and sharing about what the Lord is doing in our lives. It was a wonderful time together and I hope Cale has to travel back to this area soon so we can get together again.
Tonight we are ultimately headed for Nashville, but will make a pit-stop in the Raleigh, NC area to have dinner with another friend from college. Sarah was a friend of both Cale and I in Cleveland and we have kept up with each other since we all moved away. She and her husband, who we have yet to meet, are expecting a baby this summer and I can't wait to see her with that pregnancy glow. I also can't wait for her to meet Haven. Sarah holds a special place in my heart for a lot of reasons and we have some great memories together, but one that stands out is going on my first mission trip with her to Puerto Rico. That trip completely and totally changed the course of my life and Sarah was part of that.
Another lovely memory of Sarah is a Fall Break trip to Chicago. I had not felt well, but decided it wasn't worth missing the trip, so I went anyways. The first day we were there I almost passed out in the shower because I felt so weak. I told Sarah, my nursing student friend, and she told me to suck it up. The next day, after I had walked ALL over the city, I found out that I had pneumonia and a 103 degree fever. Needless to say, Sarah felt bad and I think that her nursing skills and bedside manner have since dramatically improved!
So while our day-to-day life here at the hotel hasn't been all that exciting (although I have been able to read a lot!), this trip has certainly been worth it to get to see old friends and catch up with each other's lives. I love having friends all over the place that I don't need to talk to for months at a time and when we do talk, we can pick right up where we left off. Our lives are richer and our walks with the Lord closer because of the influence each of these people have had in our lives.
As I mentioned, we are headed to my brother's house in Nashville. They moved there in November and this will be our first time to see their new place. My mom is also coming down so we will have a full weekend celebrating birthdays and Easter together. Things to look forward to: seeing my niece and nephew sing in their Easter program, a double date, my brother's "gourmet" cooking (by his own admission) and Haven sleeping in a different room.
And I hope that in the midst of it all I will take the time to really reflect on why we are celebrating this weekend. The grace that allows me to enjoy all of the things I just wrote about- the friendships that God has used to make us more like his Son, our family that teaches us about ourselves and unconditional love and the loving Father who orchestrates our lives and desires that we live life abundantly in Him. It's all grace.
My prayer is that I remember the price paid so that I might live and daily live a life worthy of the One who paid it all.