I met Sadie nearly ten years ago when her last name was "Fine" and all the guys (on the Capernwray Hall campus in England where we lived and worked) joked that Sadie was indeed 'fine'.
But it was Dave that won her heart and gave her a beautiful ring (and her new last name). In the three years that I spent at Capernwray Hall, this couple invited me into their life and significantly impacted mine.
Paper, a pencil, and an eraser.
When I met Sadie, I began to meet myself. Not who I "should be" or even who I "thought I should be". Just me... Sarah.
A Californian, Sadie could speak her mind, opinions, likes and dislikes freely. Without projecting herself on me, she asked me lots of questions about my thoughts and feelings. I was not used to expressing my mind and heart, so I found I lacked the ability to identify what was going on internally... or I lacked the vocabulary to express it. I was programmed to answer along the lines of "I'm great!"
Sadie's ability to express herself in words was, to me, like a pauper inheriting a fortune! I had so much in my heart to share! In Sadie's heart, I was free to write anything I wanted... and if I misspoke, or changed my mind, I was free to erase it and start over again.
When I started a relationship with a guy on staff at the Hall that proved unhealthy and miserable, Sadie and Dave were there. Sometimes they used words that spoke to my heart about the mess I was in; mostly the thing that spoke to my heart was how they loved each other. I couldn't get away from Dave's care, respect, and joy for Sadie and how feminine Sadie was in Dave's presence. This was a far cry from the relationship I was in.
There's a great story of God's care for my life at this point - for another post - but for now I will say that these friends were still there to pick up the pieces of the mess I'd made, welcoming me back with open arms.
The Stuff of Life.
Sharing the stuff of life - blood, sweat, laughter and tears - not artificial fillers or flavors - has forged a relationship with the Jacksons that has spanned Continents. Weddings. Homes. Pregnancies. Moves. Job changes. Children.
When the two arrived in Colorado last week, I couldn't stop the tears (or laughing). They entered into our family like they were one of us. Taking the kids to the park and McDonalds. Coming along with us to buy ballet slippers for Catherine's birthday. Happy to slip a spoonful of Cheerios from their bowl into the open mouth of a three and (nearly) two year old.
Able to see and celebrate the personality of each child. Willing to speak truth into the dynamic of our family. Able to put perspective on the things that can seem larger than life. The things I forget, these friends help me to remember.