October 2, 2015
Why take 3 days out of one’s life to drive to another country, weaving around a quadrillion orange cones, to spend a few hours with a friend?
It’s what friends do.
And what is it we then do? Talk about the weather? (Not one mention of weather) See the sights? (We walked along the lakeshore not to see the lakeshore, but to talk.) Talk sports or cars or politics? (Nope.)
We talked about things of life. We asked each other what you would like to be known for when you die. (He loved like Jesus.) We talked of our walks with God. We talked of personal issues, of singleness, of Parkinson’s, etc. We talked of what brings joy. We talked about a lot.
And we kept getting interrupted by people asking about Xerx, wanting to take his picture, or wanting to pet him. The most bizarre interruption came from a lady who wanted to borrow Xerx. She wanted him for a family photo she had set up across the way. She said she’d bring him back. Vlad and I just looked at each other. I said no.
Who is Vlad? Very briefly – he is the head of the editorial and publishing department at The Bible Society in Russia. He has translated 3 books of the Bible into contemporary Russian. He’s married and has two kids.
When it was time for him to catch his flight we drove to the airport (and a little beyond (and then back)). I dropped him off at the arrivals level (couldn’t figure out how to get to departures). We said goodbye a number of times and in a number of ways and I drove off headed back to Minneapolis.
The next morning I got a text from Vlad saying, “Tom, thanks God. I’m in Moscow. Safe and sound. Wishing you the same.”
I messaged back, “We are heading back around Lake Michigan the other way. Almost to Mackinac. You may beat us home. Was thinking this morning we may never see each other again this side of heaven.”
He messaged back, “You are unbeatable! But because of Christ we’ll see each other for sure on the other side of the life…”
If you pray, shoot one up for Vlad. God knows how to answer.
Xerx and Vlad – downtown Toronto