Our friend of four years, a native of Wuhan, came to eat dinner with us tonight. He’s recently moved to Shanghai, and it’s the third consecutive city that we’ve all lived in simultaneously. We shared thoughts, ideas, and laughter over aromatic fish soup in our favorite Sichuan restaurant, and then we walked off our meal before returning to our apartment. Eden was thrilled to see her “uncle” and demanded his attention for most of the night, sharing with him all the developments in her little life since moving to Shanghai.
After he left, I began thinking about what a constant part of our life he’s been for so long. And to think, he was once just a generic face at a coffee shop in Wuhan! What if we hadn’t gone that night? What if we hadn’t spoken up? What if we had been too preoccupied with our own agendas, our own issues, to labor in the fields? We wouldn’t have gained a brother. Eden wouldn’t have gained an uncle. He wouldn’t have gained a father – The Father.
It’s so easy with the lives Anna and I lead now to get caught up in this inward focus. There are lesson plans to write, papers to grade, bills to pay, Eden’s flooding the bathroom sink, and oh, we’re out of vegetables again. But our outing with an old friend gave me a good reminder of what it is we are supposed to be doing and why. There’s so much to lose, and so much more to be gained. Who knows how many family members we have all around us, yet to be reborn? The harvest is great, after all. And the laborers are few. So we had better get to work!