7:35 a.m. my Skype rang in and I happened to be nearby heading to workout. I answered. Good regional Skype. The plan was for me to run some errands for the retreat, be home at noon to continue the Skype. That sort of worked. More Skype. More break. More Skype.
I wasn't too worried about the "loss" of solitude this a.m. I decided to head out to pay bills and then play in the dirt. The plan was to clean house tonight.
I had ordered 3 cases of Bibles from a company in Tokyo. They arrived yesterday. When you shop online here without the option of a credit card....they deliver your stuff an with the bill inside the box. You take it to the nearest Lawson's and pay for your purchase. Quite trusting, isn't it? Refreshing. There must be thousands of Lawsons scattered throughout Japan....and Family Mart and Circle K and Kozusomethingorothers.... As I waited in Lawsons, I couldn't help but thinking of Akiko-san. She's repeatedly told me (skeptic) how wonderful Cup Noodles are...and so I bought an assortment to try....seems the perfect time as I don't want to do a lot of cooking. Before you turn your nose up, you should know that Ramen here is about a million times better than Ramen in the states...who knows...maybe this will be good too. ::snort::
I stopped at the Japanese version of Walmart to buy 4 more 40 ltr bags of DIRT...This time I bought a bag that said, "Garden Soil" in small print...I'm quite sure this is not fertilizer.
Somewhere between leaving for errands and getting home the sun went away and the WIND arrived in FORCE....I decided to plant and save the housecleaning for the evening....plenty of time. I was valiantly planting plants...and chasing fly away planters across the yard...when Akiko-san called. We had a great talk. She asked if I'd like to spend the evening with her! Yes, that would be well worth changing plans. We went to Universe. She had to buy things for a work BBQ tomorrow and showed me her favorite snack items for me to take home when I go next week.
After the shopping adventure we went to her favorite Ramen shop - I didn't take a photo and can't remember the name....it has Tom Yum on the outside but that is a type of Thai noodle or something and not the name of the shop. Akiko-san had a wonderfully huge bowl of ramen. I had curry and giyoza. Akiko-san informed me that "most Japanese don't use hashi for curry." Well now, that's nice to know. ::snort::
As we laughed and slurped ramen it happened - unexpected intimacy. She shared new thoughts she is working through - I gained insight in to a culture still very new to me. I thanked her for sharing with me, I gave her several heartfelt assurances I am praying for her....she thanked me for letting her talk about things that are perplexing her. I will ponder tonight's conversation for quite some time. With all my heart I wanted to give her an easy answer....but the answer simply doesn't appear to be easy. How can the simplicity of grace, the free gift of grace be understood when it will cost so much and goes against what you've been taught to believe? It seems very complicated and costly from this perspective. And yet, I long to introduce her to Jesus, not philosophy or religion, but Jesus. I sense He is drawing her to Himself...and so I sit on the outside and thank Him for the moments when I'm unexpectedly pulled inside the intimate circle...and continue to pray the process, pray the kingdom purposes in this situation.
Your kingdom come, Father, on earth as it is in heaven!
~Coram Deo~Living all of life before the face of God...