I am a believer in stories. Your story shapes you as my story shapes me. I have been shaped by the stories of my parents and they by their parents. Stories carry such influence and I find that in each story, there is mystery, comedy, history, biography, tragedy and much more….
Sometimes I find myself wondering what themes of my story may be directly out of the story themes of my Dad and Mom. I can’t help but think about how they both immigrated from The Netherlands to Sussex,New Jersey and Hamilton, Canada in their pre-teen years. I can’t quite imagine the long boat ride with their family and many others to an unknown land. I can’t quite imagine the feelings my Opa and Oma or my Pake and Beppe must have had as they sold their belongings and set out to establish themselves in a land of opportunity.
I think of all the preparation, prayer and anticipation of the trip across the Ocean. And I do believe that because of my parent’s early experiences and family ties to Europe, I am very fortunate to have traveled to Europe before. I remember going while I was a student at Calvin for my parent’s 25th wedding anniversary. We went to learn more of their story. It was a wonderful trip and the experiences have shaped who I am today.
And so, for some, travel to Europe is but a dream and for others it is something dreamed of but not yet possible. I am heading to London for not even a week to see my niece Janneke. Janneke will be leaving her post in London and traveling to Ghana very soon. Tonight it is amazing to me that I have the opportunity and freedom to pack up and travel over seas on an overnight flight and return home not even a week later. I am very thankful tonight for opportunity and for the unfolding of my story, which includes a recognition that the world is a big place and there are opportunities to explore the world in many creative ways. Sara Groves has a song that includes the words Free to fly free to go free to come back home…these words very much reflect a theme in our family story. And for the opportunity, the experiences, the memories and the wonder and awe of a different land, I am very thankful! Writing tomorrow night from London…..bon voyage!