I really love wind chimes. I’m just sitting here enjoying the sunshine and listening to my wind chimes right now. Over the course of the past few years I managed to lose all the wind chimes I used to collect. I didn't realize how much I missed them until I got a new set. When I was in California earlier this month, my sister bought me some and they play the most beautiful song.
I first started loving wind chimes when I was a little girl. My family lived for a time in Baldwin Park, California and my sisters and I had the distinction of being three of the four white kids who attended our elementary school. I noticed it, but was not really bothered by it - I had plenty of friends. The thing that was disturbing sometimes, though, was walking home from school. I had to pass some scary houses in the half-mile walk between school and home. I would keep my head down and walk as quickly as I could - and I was always listening for the sound of wind chimes. They were a happy sound for me: first, because they just sounded so lovely; and second, because they meant I had less than a block to go before I arrived home. The final left turn was just ahead, and then a short walk to the end of the cul-de-sac and I was there!
It’s funny how hearing something like a wind chime can bring back so many memories. I remember the address of that house. I guess because it was drilled into me as I prepared for kindergarten. And as it was a cul-de-sac, and we lived in the furthest house back we would grab our trash can from the end of the road on trash days to bring it home. Dad painted the address in big black letters on the side of the trash can - 4914 - and we had to be sure we took the correct one since everyone on the block had the same green plastic trash cans.
We knew everyone up and down the street there. In the middle house across the street lived the family from New Zealand. Their mom had the best accent ever. The little boy in the family liked to take the goldfish out of their tank and pet it. At the far end of the cul-de-sac, on our side, lived a couple who had one son, but fostered many others. It was fun to go to their house because there was always somebody new to play with - or a new baby to watch!
I had a really close friend who lived across the street from us. I thought she was pretty cool, although I didn't know that word then. She had three or four older brothers - and even though I was only in second grade - I thought they were very cute! Her mom would make us homemade tortillas when we were playing together out in the yard. Those were hands-down the absolute best tortillas I ever ate in my life, and for most of my childhood they were the only tortillas I would willingly eat. I hated Mexican food back then.
My girlfriend and I would wash her mother’s big old car sometimes. Thing is, it wasn't actually painted, it was just primer-ed So it looked beautiful when we got it wet and soaped it up - a bright and shiny gray. But we were terrible rinsers and the car always ended up with white smears all over it when we were done washing. Once, one of her older brothers came to help us out and he showed us how to rinse more carefully, but that was the only time we did that. It was too much work so the next time we washed it, the car was covered in our signature white smears again.
When I lived in Baldwin Park I was invited to Awana one time. Church was something my family seldom did - usually we only went on holidays and when Grandma and Grandpa came to visit. The services I remember were very solemn affairs. My sisters and I had to wear little lacy doily things on our heads. Mom would pin them on and I hated that. The pins made my head itch. Some of the service would be in Latin, which I couldn't understand and the rest would be in English, but I never paid attention. Children were to be seen and not heard, so we really just endured the ordeal. I had no idea what Awana was or what a children’s club at a church might be like.
I was playing in the street/driveway one day with some friends when a beautiful young lady walked up to us. She asked if we wanted to go to an Awana club at her church. Of course we did! She said we had to ask our moms first, so my friend ran to her house and I went to the front door and yelled through the screen for my mom. When Mom got to the door the woman asked if I could come to Awana. My mom immediately said, “No!” and shut the door in the woman’s and my faces. I was bummed, but not too much because I wasn’t a big fan of church anyway. The lady looked really sad, though, and I felt sorry for her. She smiled at me and patted me on the head, then left.
Who would have thought fifteen or so years down the road I would be leading an Awana Club at my own church and picking up my kids’ friends from all over the neighborhood to attend? Well, obviously God would. The events of our lives weave together neatly and intricately as we move toward our purpose. It just amazes me. I didn’t know Him, but He knew me and even then He was working to bring me to Him. Take some time to think about all the things God has done to bring you to Him.
If you stop and consider your life, you will figure out how all the events fit together and they probably make an interesting story of a journey of faith. I think God often draws people to Himself through other people and their real-life stories. You have one and it can be used to bring others into the family. Figure it out and then tell it.
You don’t have to be a famous Bible scholar or a budding author to be used by God to change lives. You have to pray, and stop once in awhile and think about the very real and practical ways God is reaching out to you; or what He has done in the past for you and then tell someone else what has happened in your life. After that, you sit back and watch what God does.