When I was about 10, my Uncle Scott went to Canada. He brought back a small, rectangular cedar box with a maple leaf carved in the top. He kept it on a shelf built into the headboard of his bed. Since he was a later in life child, and extremely frugal, he lived with my grandparents until he got married when I was in the 8th grade. Whenever I'd visit my grandparents, I'd find my way into Uncle Scott's room and go directly to that little box. I remember looking at it as if it were the most exotic and mysterious thing I'd ever seen. I'd think about Canada as my finger traced the edges of the maple leaf, imagining this far away land where they had snow, people spoke french and you could buy little boxes with maple leaves carved on top.
Fast-forward almost 30 years, past the invention of the personal computer, the internet in Al Gore's basement and Facebook by college kids looking to score...inventions which led to me meeting one of the best and dearest and most precious friend's I've ever known...who happens to live in...you guessed it...Canada!
Tomorrow, I board a plane, and then another, to venture into the land that captured my imagination as a child...and, more importantly, visit my friend.
It's sort of amusing to me now, the degree of awe-struck, fantastic wonder that little box and the country it represented held for me all those years ago. Though, in my defense, I was 10...Oklahoma would have seemed exotic to me then...and I had yet to see "Strange Brew" or hear any of the, now cliche, jokes about Canadians. Nevertheless, I sit here, still filled with awe-struck, fantastic wonder...not so much in response to the place I am going, but the why and the who and the how.
Since the invention of the computer and the internet and its various forms of communication and ways of making our world oh so small, I've met lots of people. Some strangers. Some friends of friends. Some very much like me. Some from the bizarro version of our world. ;) Some became friends. Some became enemies. None of these connections were terribly deep or meaningful and, even when they were, they weren't terribly lasting.
Still, today, it makes no sense to me. Two people. Two countries. Two radically different sets of life experience. Too many dissimilarities for me to count. Yet, we share a connection that is one of those life-long sort of things. They don't happen very often, and it's hard to describe how one knows when its happened, except to say that when it does happen, you just know.
All because some nerds invented computers, Al Gore spent time in his basement, and guys wanted a new way to meet girls. Well...and because God was very kind and decided to do a very special thing for me by way of something many people find very silly. (For those keeping score at home, I'm talking about Facebook.)
So, thank you nerds. Thank you whoever really invented the internet. Thank you Facebook. And, thank you, Lord, for my friend. Thank you for using random quotes on Facebook and late night chats to knit our hearts and lives together. Thank you for making it possible for me to go and visit her, meet her family and friends, and walk around in her life for a few days. And, thank you for the little cedar box with a maple leaf on the top that was sort of a promise of the grace and favor and blessing in which I now stand.