Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

I gazed at her, and was so drawn to what I didn’t know.

There was a quietness in her voice, her movement, her smile. Her thick black hair was pulled back, revealing an intelligent, gentle face, and almond-shaped eyes behind unobtrusive lenses.

She held her son so tenderly and lovingly. Dressed in neat, classic style, one was aware of her, not a flashy sense of fashion.

Every word and movement was patience, grace, and peace.

Who was this woman, from a thousand miles around the world?

What secrets did she carry that couldn’t climb the language barrier between us?

What experiences had shaped her past, and made her into the mother, wife, and woman who stood next to me in my kitchen?

Later, while we watched the children, so other adults could explore God together, she pored over a children’s book, looking at the colorful illustrations.

Silently, she mouthed the English words to herself, seeking their meaning.

Silently, I studied her Chinese features to myself, seeking their message.

There is a spirit in some people that calls my name, the moment I meet them. Without fail, it is a spirit of quiet rivers that run deep. I step into their presence, and I know, somehow: Here I find a friend.

I knew, in Yuehong, I had met a kinswoman.

Later, tonight I unwrapped the package she and her husband had brought as a gift to bless their host.

A scarf of pure silk slid smoothly into my hands. Lavender purple, edged with golden scrolls and encircling a centerpiece of springtime blossoms. I touched it to my cheek, breathless with surprise and delight.

And I smiled. Silk. She spoke and moved like silk.

We’ve been friends all our lives. We just hadn’t met until tonight.

Inviting pew-weary Jesus people to embrace + experience their truest identity as beloved through subversive spiritual disciplines. Hope*Writer. Creative mentor.

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