Interruptions on the Way


I’m traveling by train from Lisbon to Castelo Branco, on the way to spend a night at Barbara’s land. We’re stopped. The Portuguese lady on the recording calls it a brief “interruption on the way.” But the other passengers say there is a fire up ahead, somewhere near the tracks.

Catherine is with me, and we laughed that just a few moments ago I’d quipped: “Those dark rain clouds don’t sound good for us in the land.” Turns out those rain clouds were actually made of smoke. It is dry in Portugal, and brush fires are common.

It is nice to have a traveling companion for this part of my journey. I met Catherine about four years ago at St. Dominic’s International School. She was in year ten and I was in year one of my Young Life internship. I met her at lunch-break, and we chatted about life and books. I remember thinking that she was one of the brightest thirteen year-olds I’d ever met. We continued to meet up for lunches over the years, and kept the conversation going. We spoke a lot about Jesus. I prayed for her and asked many friends to do the same, because I so wanted her to know how much God loves her.

Today Catherine sits next to me knowing that Love personally. Somewhere along the way–was it in a 24-7 prayer room, or as she was walking along the Atlantic?–Catherine committed her life to following Jesus. Now she’s two train seats away from me reading and journaling Madeleine L’Engle.

When we settled into the train she’d grabbed a book from my tiny portable library a’la red Samsonite carry-on. I’ve been grinning to myself as I watch her scribble old M’s words into her Portuguese/English journal.

“What good words did you find, Cat?”

“Oh! It’s this great bit about how when we’re too self-absorbed and analytical, we’re not really able to live.”

“That’s the part about us being more like children, right?”

“Mmmm, yes.”

It is a joy to see others losing themselves in the same words that have held me. With Catherine, I’m reminded how simply-chewed words over lunch can be a part of the relentless in breaking of God’s love in another’s life.

May we keep that conversation going.

Comments
5 Responses to “Interruptions on the Way”
  1. lisa says:

    And all you need is lunch. Lingering lunches over words that matter. Or rushed lunches over condensed truths. The beauty of it all is that you had time for lunches and the Spirit had his perfect breaking-in point. Next time I see you I think you will be in need of some lunch cuz your bus gets here at about 2pm with no lunch break on the way…

  2. John Baw says:

    Awesome post Jenelle. I think we too often underestimate the power of speech. Our words truly are seeds sown…for better or for worse. More lunches and conversations please!

  3. Sue says:

    Thank you, God, for making Nelly bigger than herself and therefore humble and open to Your words,that get chewed over lunch and into train rides ten yrs later!
    Jesse and Trevor wondered when you would be back in Pasadena. People are looking forward to lunches!! Jesse and Trevor are driving to SB today…off to Westmont. We loved having them over for tortilla soup, looking at pics from Africa, purchasing a djembe, listening to J play us a tune… to start us into the “beginnings” that are happening this Fall, and feeling hopeful for it all!!
    Praying joyfully for your adventures happening now and those still to come.

  4. Whitney says:

    Hope you had fun at Barbara’s =)

  5. Jenelle says:

    Lisa,
    Yes, lingering lunches over meaningful words, or over condensed truths. Oh I can’t wait for you to feed me soon! I’m going to get snacks for the bus from the little place here in Virgina Water 🙂

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