The sun was shining on the falling leaves
that flashed in the sunlight.
They blew across the road,
and caught all of our attention while we visited outside.
The children chased them,
and I watched them
and thought about how the wind blows where it wills,
and we see its effects.
We see two leaves from the same tree
lifted and swirled in different directions.
And I went into the church knowing it was our last morning there.
Some of our newer friends came in and said,
"We brought a gift for you."
Smiling thanks, and thinking how sweet it was to do,
when she told me, "It's all gluten-free so Isaiah can eat it,"
I broke down and cried.
Because it wasn't just sweet.
It was loving and thoughtful and tailored to us specifically.
And I cried a lot more through the rest of the day.
Because I look at these people,
and I met them in different places,
and I see how the Lord arranged each meeting.
And I was unaware
when I sat next to a girl in my new school
who kept talking about her new Gameboy
that she would be so dear to me
and I would cry to leave her.
And I didn't know when I saw a man
standing in the back of a crowded auditorium in Southern California,
in an army green jacket
that we would serve three churches together on the opposite coast
and he would marry my sister.
And I don't know the next time we will all be together
but they are mine, and I am theirs,
and the communion of saints grows large to me.
And twenty-four years ago,
when my Dad obeyed the Lord's call and moved us here,
it was all loss to me.
It was the time of falling leaves
and soon-to-be cold.
I did not own a coat.
We did not know the gain in store for us.
The friends transformed to family by the blood of Jesus Christ.
The marriages and births -- union and life.
It felt like loss and separation.
I did not love it when I arrived.
"But I am so grateful you came," my friend said.
"I am so grateful, too."
We don't know what gain He has in store
for saying yes when He asks us.
The losses loom large and seem unbearable sometimes.
But what we lose to Him is gain.
We have a choice.
And I shudder to think what we would have missed out on
had we closed our hands and said no.
No, it is too cold there.
No, I don't own a coat.
No, I don't want these friends.
No, I don't need that blessing.
"Surely the Lord is in this place," Jacob said, "and I knew it not."