Thursday, October 5, 2017

Oh, How He Loves Me!

Part 12, continued from God in the Details.

I've previously introduced readers to Misha, our driver and tour guide while visiting the Republic of Georgia. Misha replaced our first tour guide we had lined up, just days before we left on our sacred pilgrimage to meet Roma's family. (If you haven't read the linked stories, they are a must for understanding and seeing God more clearly. And pointing to God is THE purpose of my stories.)

We first noticed similarities between Roma and Misha's driving. The excessive speed, the impulsive passing.  Both treating a Toyota van as a sports car. Then we observed a similar big heart. During our week together, we noticed that Misha seemed to know  people wherever we traveled, a trait that mystified us about Roma. If he, and similarly Misha, didn't know them, he was chatting with strangers, introducing himself, making himself known. And Misha was "spiritual." Misha never failed to cross himself when entering a church, and kissing the images of Mary and Jesus. He excitedly bought  an icon of a Saint to add to his collection for his home wall reserved for icons of faith. Read more about Misha in this playful "warning" about his driving. And more about Misha here.

On the third day, I looked up from my vantage point in the back seat and suddenly I saw it. Everything became clear, and I almost laughed out loud from the sheer JOY of recognizing God at work. God surely has a sense of humor. But before I tell you, dear reader, what it was, you have to read a little further.

When we traveled to the holy ground of  Kazbegi on day five to meet Liana, three hours from Tbilisi, Misha learned more of Roma's story from our conversations translated by an English-speaking cousin. Misha was often moved to tears hearing Liana's stories of her little brother being ripped from his family, a beloved little brother who she repeated was NOT an orphan, who had a mother and a father.

Liana might not have recognized like Bruce and I did that Roma's best advocate and protector was this loving sister standing in our midst, who, in 2002, was a month away from being an adult when he vanished from her life. A month later she could have be granted guardian rights and financial help with her minor brother. Her reaction to the calculation of the enemy, and her pain and loss and resentment was reasonable.

We shared all we knew with them while we had a capable translator. We answered all their questions. The new knowledge of the exorbitant costs of adoption seemed to have confirmed the corruption they had suspected. Liana poured herself out remembering her days before and after Roma disappeared. We shared the story from our limited understanding of what was going behind the manipulated scenes. Oh, the tears of knowing.

Misha's and my red eyes met, and I whispered, "Tragic, isn't it?"

"Yes," he wiped his leaky eyes, reflecting, "yes, tragic."

Liana shared that she could not think of her little brother as dead. She often thought of him as still living, enjoying life, over there. I told her that I didn't think of Roma as dead (Oh how I still hate that word) but always thought of him on another adventure, the grandest one on his long list of big adventures. 

Then everyone scattered to tend to another meal, or take a breath from the outpouring of grief, Misha and I found ourselves alone, overlooking the vast, stunning view from the back yard of Liana's pink cottage, talking about our pilgrimage, these family members who until five days ago, I did not know in person, the brokenness of the world, and the celebrity of Roma, behind our trip.

Sweet Misha looked at me again with tears brimming. "I never knew Roma, but I "lahve" (love) him."

"Yes, you would have certainly loved Roma, Misha. Everyone did," I answered, rretrieving my phone from my pocket. I found the photo and eagerly showed it to Misha, knowing it was time.

Misha looked at the photograph, then quickly at me, his eyebrows knitted with clear confusion.

"You're like Roma!" I said excitedly as my voice cracked.

Animated Misha grabbed me suddenly and hugged me tight, as the tears of understanding ran down his cheeks.  And mine.

How good is God to change our driver so late, and replace him with someone so like Roma, to drive us all over our Sacred Pilgrimage. God gave me a glimpse of what Roma would be like as a 38 year old. And it was good.

So, on this late afternoon of long shadows, in a place I could never imagined I would be, with a story only God could write, in the yard of a family with whom I was everlastingly linked, I was overcome by pure joy. I felt Roma's warmth and smile and could sense God say, "See how much I love you?"

Yes, gratefully, I do!

This photo is not Roma, but Misha, who from the front, has no resemblance to Roma. But from my seat for the week, was very much like Roma. What a comfort to feel God and Roma everywhere on this Sacred Pilgrimage. 

Yes, I am so blessed. And thankful. 

Dont miss the exciting and heart breaking stories about finding this lovely family. Begin with Hope for Restoration. 

Many Roma and God Stories begin with The Hound of Heaven Winks. 

Writing through my grief begins here with The Agony. But don't stop there, or you'll miss the miracles! 

Readers can start at the beginning of our story by reading But the Greatest of These is Love.

Be blessed. Even in the pain, I feel like I have lived something Sacred. 

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