This was a question written in a recent response to one of our updates. I simply forwarded it to Pam to verify that I was not the only one who wished to hear from her from time to time. Following is what she wrote. I love what she wrote and hope for more.
I have some experiences that I'd like to share, but I don't know if I can convey the deep feelings attached to such experiences. One of my most recent ones has left me nearly speechless ... with some sadness attached.
Paul and I had the opportunity to take one of our young men out to dinner for pizza. It wasn't a big outing, just a chance for Paul to bless his wife with not having to cook and pizza seemed simple enough. We enjoyed dinner and fellowship with this young man of 22 years. We've known him one year, but in the past month have really gotten to know him more intimately. He spent the last two weeks living with us and he has been a joy to each of us.
At the end of our simple meal, Sami casually mentioned that he never enjoyed sitting and eating with his parents. He never knew his father who was murdered by his own younger brother when Sami was very young. Consequently Sami has grown without a father. He has never called anyone father until he called Paul that in the last month. We are both Mom and Dad to him now. He has a mother who lives in the Congo. I think she is a typical African mom ... not much affection since there is only time for work and looking for food. Sometimes that takes days. Sami is the youngest boy in his family. His life is about singing for the Lord. He loves singing and is one of the leaders of the Dove Voice Band . He has a gift for composing lyrics for many of their original songs.
Dove Voice Band with their "mama"
So as he quietly and humbly speaks of this being the first time to enjoy dinner with his parents, I realize he's being quite literal. The sudden thoughts that were triggered by that small comment sent me into a quiet search for understanding. After a few questions on my part, I sat reflecting on how much I take for granted. I don't realize many small things in life are actually very huge. Eating a meal together as a family is huge. Hugging a young man who has never felt the affection of a mother is huge.
Sami with Dad and Mom
Paul and I have enjoyed hundreds of meals with our children. We have enjoyed hundreds of meals together. Some of our most special times over the past four months occurred on our veranda with our two granddaughters, Blair and Robyn. Simple enough. Special enough. But, for a 22 year old young man to have such an experience and for me to realize that it was his first such experience ... amazing and sad. I think it caused even Paul to reflect as he slowly drove us back home. I sat with my arm around Sami, just expressing love to him from his mom. When we reached home I told Paul, "I just want to hold him!" My heart ached for him to have and know what our kids experienced in our home as they grew up. It seemed so natural. But I was realizing that it wasn't natural for everyone. We all have yearnings for things we've not experienced which are good gifts from our Father. And when we do experience them, no matter at what age, we appreciate the value in them so much. Sami was appreciating the value of parents in a moment that I was taking for granted. I stopped and had to back up to his reality and let it process through my thoughts. Tough. Tough reality.
God's embrace through Sami's mama
BUT GOD! God is loving Sami through "parents" who love him now! I can celebrate that and thank God for what only He can do in and through each of us. God Knows. Yeah.