Follow by Email

Monday, March 8, 2010

Week 7: Chicago Fly-by

We landed late in Chicago and were met my good friend Paul. Paul was a student at the university where I was chaplain before we moved to Sweden and our friendship led to me hiring him as an assistant for campus ministries. His tenure at North Park far exceeded mine as he is now in his 13th year. He lives in a beautiful home in the neighborhood near the university and we love being in that place. We feasted on our favorite Chicago pizza that night…Lou Malnati’s and both Doug and I expressed how absolutely delicious the stuff is. There is, quite frankly, just nothing like it. The next morning, we met our good friend Alice for breakfast at the local Swedish joint. Alice is from our church in Stockholm and studying at the seminary this year. The restaurant holds a special place of meaning for us as it is where we were engaged 16 years ago. They also did our rehearsal dinner and all in all, we treasure this little place on the corner. Little did we know then that starting our journey towards marriage in a Swedish restaurant set us up to spend the bulk of our marital life thus far in Stockholm. That night we ventured downtown to have dinner with some dear friends who I first knew when I was an intern during seminary. Our friendship has continued to grow through the years and it’s always great to spend an evening talking about anything and everything. Our core memory takes us back to the time when both couples accompanied me on a mission trip to Virginia with a group of high school kids from our church. The project was rooted in home remodeling and amidst much laughter and certain tears, it was a week that changed our lives. One of the men gathered at the table pulled out a raggedy piece of paper that I had written in the summer of 1992. It was a list of all the kids who had participated in the summer project. Just reading through their names brought back floods of memories. The next morning I met a dear friend for breakfast while Doug connected with his former church secretary and her husband who literally think Doug sitteth on the right hand of God the father almighty. They are dear people.

Chicago holds a place of certain importance for me. Wandering around the old neighborhood, being back on campus, connecting with friends from my years studying and our early years of marriage all cause something very dear and deep to stir within my soul. A gorgeous departure from one of my favorite cities.

I am so thankful that we have the chance to dip our toe back into this wonderful place and re-connect with those with whom we share a very strong connection indeed.