A couple of whys.
Why me Lord? What have I ever done, to deserve even one, of the blessings I've known?
That is a line from a Kris Kristofferson song that Johnny Cash recorded. A wonderful trip like this has to make me think about such questions.
Barbara and I just spent a couple of days at a little hotel on the waterfront of Stavern, a touristy spot a hour or so drive south of where Julia and Viggo live. The Schnake's and the Larsen's (Viggo and Julia) had separate rooms and a lovely romantic time was had by all. We were in crowds of tourists and packed restaraunts and never heard an American word (except us) and the skies were not cloudy all day! Beaches, art, food, walks, etc. etc.
Just today Barbara and I rode bikes straight from Julia and Viggo's house to the nearest city of Tonsberg. A slightly challenging ride for a middle age guy with one good knee, but it was a blast.
We had dinner at a restaurant on the waterfront there and even knew one of the waiters (a friend of J &V). Julia and Viggo were at a missions conference, so we did this on our own. Barbara was exulting about how we weren't old after all, when a twenty something ultra tan blonde in biking clothes passed us going so fast that I got off my bike to see why it had stopped moving (well, I felt like I should).
Here is the other why: So I am sitting at a table just outside the hotel in Stavern, waiting for the others. It is one of the few smoking allowed spots, and a lady walks up and says something in Norwegian that probably meant "do you mind if I smoke". I gestured for her to sit. Then I realized that she looked amazingly like my Mom a couple of years before she died. She was about sixty, short, and overweight. She had a deep tan and the associated facial wrinkles from years of that and years of smoking. Her smile, her dyed blond hair, her cough, and even the denim pants suit that she wore all created an haunting resemblance to my Mom. We didn't speak, so I sat quietly and watched her smoke a cigarette with exactly the same movements that my mom had used.
So why, Lord? Why that particular reminder at such a strange spot and time?
I just couldn't think of a reason. Just like I can't think of a reason that I should be blessed with this wonderful trip and the friends and family that have helped make it possible and wonderful.
Grace. It has to be grace.