They have been friends for a few years.
I only recently met him in the flesh.
He and John’s other friend, Jack wandered through the kitchen in search of cheese-foods and fuzzy beverages.
I recognized everyone but the lanky blonde.
“Hello.” I quipped.
“Hello,” he stuck his hand out, “I am Ian.”
“I guess I haven’t ever heard your name before, are you new to the posse?”
“No ma’am, I have been around a while, my friends call me Craig.”
Indeed, I had heard of John’s good friend Craig.
“Oh, yes. Hello, Craig. Is that your middle name?”
“Oh, um… family name?”
“No ma’am.” He shuffled his feet. “Actually, I don’t know why they call me Craig.”
I looked at John and Jack, “Why do you guys call him Craig?”
Without looking up from their cheese puffs John said, “I thought his name was ETHAN. And after about 2 years he finally corrected me and said it was IAN, it was too late to change gears so I just ran with Craig and it stuck.”
Jack munched, “Yeah, it fits him better.”
Appalled I scolded, “But it’s not his name???”
Craig, I mean Etha- Ian, intervened, “It’s fine. I think Craig is a cool name. I am fine with it.”
And maybe he was, or is, but I felt like it probably had to matter in some way. Honestly, I couldn’t stop thinking about Craig/Ethan/Ian.
I know, guys are definitely different than us gals. But I wish to be known.
And not in the fame and fortune made known scenario… but the understood and recognized scenario.
The first time I recognized my minimal footprint was upon landing at the Makati, Venezuela International airport. My sister and I exited the airplane with a printed list of instructions that would, expectantly lead us to our father on the other side of customs and baggage.
The sights and sounds of the airport, the foreign language and mysterious had us confused and scared. A homeless man tugged on my purse and yammered in Spanish. A young woman tried to give us her baby, and in broken English said, “Take bebe to Merica? Por Favor me Niño to Merica?”
We shuffled through the madness and finally breathed deeply at the familiar site of our father’s lanky arms waving and the familiar call, “JAMI! STACEY! YOU MADE IT! COME THIS WAY!”
Although I have never been fond of my name, Jami with a missing “e,” in this instance, it was music to my ears. To be recognized and called out in the sound of my dad’s voice was a huge relief.
We had made it.
We knew which way to go.
He would help us with our bags, navigate the unfamiliar country, and later show us to our room in their apartment overlooking the immense capitol of Caracas. On that balcony, I was further overwhelmed by the massiveness of the city.
I felt small.
I felt impossibly unknown.
I was struck to my core… this place I did not know buzzed with an insane and non-stop energy. It was not impacted by my presence, or my disappearance. I was irrelevant and unknown in this gigantic fracture of humanity.
I was summoned from my trance.
“Jami! Dinner is ready!” I heard my mom holler.
At that dinner table I was known. The food, even in another country, had the familiar hints of childhood. This was home.
And as I drifted to sleep that night, a jetlag fog weighed heavy on my bones like a down comforter. Outside the window a huge palm danced in the South-American wind. Sirens and horns blared; the city wasn’t ready for bed. I prayed, giving thanks for safe travel and new adventures.
And then I had to ask, “Do really know me? Do you know how to find me in this place?”
Shallow as it may seem, I was undone by this new to me country… how does God keep track? How is it possible that these humans go about the everyday life, a thousand miles from me… and still He knows me? Jami… no “e” from Texas.
I waited for an answer.
I fell deeper into sleep and I heard a familiar sound from somewhere deep in my conscious…. “Yes Jami, I know… welcome to Venezuela. Try the pineapple, it is divine.”
Over the next weeks I would see the rich, the poor, the lost, loathed, and homeless and my prayers for each were random… yet precise. For among the faces of the unknown wandered a God who I wish to make known.
And He knows.
He knows your name, mine and theirs.
He is a good Father.
Keeper of our prayers.
King of the World – a hero among the fallen.
He knows and hears our prayers.
He is for us… and with us.
I hope to never to doubt this Truth, no matter where I travel… to whatever land I wander He is with me, my companion and Love.
He whispers His promises to me and He always calls me, Jami.
P.S. When in Venezuela… try the pineapple.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
Remember… 1 Corinthians 10:23 Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.
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