I've known about today for a while, and I knew it would be a long day, in the middle of a long month (Funny how Feb feels like such a long month every year...) I take a look at my calendar and like to freak out. It's fun. (That last statement was not dripping with sarcasm at all...)
Anyway, I knew it was coming. And I've been dreading today, like I've been dreading all the other things that are keeping me busier than I like to be.
Today was the closing ceremony for the VYM missionary program that I came to Japan with. (I left the program two years ago, but the program is shutting down this year, so it was a commemorative service.) I wasn't sure I wanted to go. Well, for a long time I didn't want to go at all. I'm not always the best people person. (What! I'm not a people person, you ask? So why did I become a missionary? >>> It seemed like a good idea at the time...) But eventually, I managed to shift my negative thinking, just enough to let me see that I might WANT to go, instead of feeling like it was just another obligation to stress me out with. So, I made my plans to go to the service.
So a few weeks ago, I decided that I would go into Tokyo with a friend from church, who was also a former missionary. She wanted to go, but was worried about traveling there with a young baby by herself. I was more than happy to help her out (AKA kidnap baby for a day!) So we made plans to meet at 11:30 so we could have plenty of time to get there with no stress. (Service stated at 1:30, trains take about an hour.)
Then I get an e-mail from a former Bible Study student, who wanted an urgent lesson to help prepare for an interview she had today. She wanted to know if I could meet her in the afternoon. I really wanted to help her out, so I asked her if she could meet in the morning. (Me, being the exact opposite of a morning person by nature, this is a small miracle. Don't ask me why I'm volunteering these things...) So we decide to meet at 10 at the same station where I was going to meet the friend from church.
Then I get an e-mail from my friend who lives in a different prefecture. We haven't seen each other in a while, and it would be nice to catch up. She's coming for the service and wanted to know if I had any time to meet. (deliberately NOT looking at Calendar at this point.) Why, yes, I would love to meet up with you. Let's see... How's 8:30 ish sound? (Did I mention I'm not a morning person? Oh yeah, this is my day off, my only day to sleep in... Why am I doing this again???)
So with full knowledge of what I was doing, I went against my very (current) anti-people nature and set up 3 meetings back to back today, starting in the morning. (I didn't make the first meeting until 9 actually... The time was kinda flexible.) And I also stayed up until 12 the night before finishing the birthday present I was supposed to have finished last week.
Yeah, I think I'm crazy too.
Yet somewhere in all of this, while I am calmly making decisions that will take away chances for sleep and rest (I am a huge fan of sleep, and am currently low on it at the moment) and possibly add to my stress levels, there is a sense of peace each time I add to my "too-do-list." No panic, no stress, just... Yeah, it'll be ok. It'll all work out.
So I prepared myself for a long day.
And I was Blessed.
Breakfast with my friend, who always shares her excitement for what God is going to do in this country, and gives me new perspectives to think about. (And is always generally excited to see people in "good" places of pain, growth, etc...) *waves* (Yeah, she reads my blog too... Love you!!!) ;-)
It was a blessing to me.
She walks with me to the meeting place with my student, and I feel like I am literally passed off from one person to the other. Baton pass. :-) I finish giving her directions for the trains, and then go to a coffee shop with my student.
My student and I have a good lesson, catch up a bit, and she wants to know if it might be possible to go to Bible Studies at my new job next year...
I was blessed.
She walks me to the meeting place where my friend from church is waiting with her precious baby girl. She coos over the baby, and passes me off to the next person. Baton pass 2. :-) We do a few errands and find our train. I get to take over the baby holding job (I practically wrestled the baby from her hands!) and play with the baby on the trains. Didn't take her long to just drop to sleep. I make a comfortable bed. Seriously. Ask any dog, cat or kid. Afternoon nap is a success! :-) We make it to the church in Tokyo just as she wakes up. That kid has some good timing I tell you.
I get to walk around shocking people who want to know where this baby suddenly came from. Hehe. I like shocking people.
We go to the service, and I notice how blessed I am. All 3 of my directors were present, the pastor I served with, and the pastor I'm going to serve with are all there. To my left is my friend and her baby. To my right is Sensei, the one person that I can hold up and say "This person was led to Christ because I was in Japan. I didn't do anything, but because I was here, he is now a member of my church(he was actually just sworn in as a new Elder for our church week before last!)" All that was missing were the two girls from my orientation group.
So much history. So much present. So much future.
And I was blessed.
We spend time talking to people who have been touched by the missionary program here until it's time to go.
My friend and I leave at exactly the time I knew I would need to leave to get back to the band. The future activities of the band had been declared "Undecided" a few weeks ago. There was today, and a concert next week. After that it's all "undecided." What does that mean? Is today possibly the last time I'll meet them at the station on a Saturday night? Maybe. It's undecided after all.
So I'm not really sure what to expect, or how much of the situation I understand. I just know it's important for me to cherish every moment. Because after all, life in general is "undecided."
And my friend walks me to the spot where one member is setting up his piano keyboard for the evening. He looks at me in surprise and wants to know when I had a baby. (I am obviously still kidnapping the baby.) We find her bus, and she goes home to her husband. Baton touch. :-)
Not very long after that, my roommate shows up, and then the rest of the band shows up. The performance begins. Music fills the air. And I notice Peace in my heart. Peace that has been there all day. Sustaining me. Giving me strength. Blessing me. A former student from last year's Jr. High school is at the station with his friends (he's a High Schooler now.) He see's me, and despite being embarrassed in front of his friends, waits until I notice him and can say hi. Then he quickly walks away embarrassed once again. I smile. And go back to the music with another blessing added to the ponderings in my heart. And I feel a touch on my shoulder from behind. Another student, this one from my time at the church, a woman close to my age, with her son who was born on my birthday, waving to me as they are on their way home. "Yeah, it's just been that kind of day" I smile to my roommate.
And I am blessed.
It doesn't look like "undecided" will mean a stop to the Saturday night street lives. It might mean a different format, or not as often. I don't know for certain yet. But they will continue. So I am thankful for that.
It's been a long day. Much much longer than I had thought it would be when I was dreading it as just a note in my calendar. But so much better than I could have imagined.
So much Blessing packed into one day.
This is my kind of long day. :-D
<~~~~~ (a picture of "sensei")
On a random note... I smell like baby. :-D