Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Johnny and Tina got married....

A loooooooooong time ago, twenty five years to be exact, my friends, Johnny and Tina, married. I would not meet them until almost a year later. At the time, I had no way of knowing that these two people, with the simple words, "I do" would have such an effect on my life as a young woman.
I met them at a young adult prayer meeting, in The Bronx, where they were mentors to so many of us.
Just after baby number two was on the way, Johnny and Tina moved to this strange place in "upstate" NY called Wappingers Falls. I helped haul boxes from their Bronx apartment in my mom's Chevy Cavalier...I don't think I mentioned to them that I didn't have a driver's license the first time I drove up. And somewhere between baby number two and baby number three, we became life long friends.
The "hows" of it don't matter much. It all boils down to the "why's" of it. Tina was a young mom with no one around her in the sticks after a life time in the city. She use to tease that she would hold on to my leg whenever I would be getting ready to drive home to my parents. But I would be back. They never knew when but they knew it would be soon. I made the trip North (it was only about an hour from Yonkers, but it seemed like the other end of the world to us!) at least once a week...and I don't think I ever told her when I was coming!
I would just ring her door bell and arrive most times, empty handed and often with friends too. Sometimes Tina would send me out to buy an Entenmann's chocolate chip coffee cake that we would eat out of the box with two forks...and we would chirp for hours as she cleaned and gave me assignments. Some days, when Johnny would arrive home, he would call me their girl "Hazel"...and if you don't get the joke, you are too young to read my blog. Go find something way cooler!
So what is so extraordinary about a couple in Dutchess County so long ago? Just that they loved me. Who was I to them? No one. Just a younger sister-in-Christ with a mom on life support. They were my escape from my normal. Don't get me wrong, their house was CRAZY too with all those babies in it...but it wasn't my crazy.
I got to see first hand, what the love of a family looked like. I got to be the there for meals, and clean up and put down of babies. I got to see them when they fell and when they picked themselves back up. I was there when Tina would give me the last hot dog, knowing that pay day was in a week...I had no idea what it meant to balance the food budget. All I knew was their love of a stranger.
Johnny and Tina came and met Mom once with at least three babies in tow. She was thrilled to meet the couple who loved on her girl so often. And when John and I got married, they were in our wedding along with their two oldest. Tina let me practice playing mommy on her kids and I think my own children are blessed for it. Of course, I am no Tina...she out babied my five by her eight!
I have not seen them in a decade plus...doesn't matter. Now they live in Florida and I live around the corner from where they use to. One of these days Tina and I will sit down with a coffee cake and chirp. In the meantime I get to brag on two people who let this stranger into their home. They showed me the love of Christ in every cup of coffee. I have no reasons to justify their love for me...but I carry it. That love is etched into my soul forever...and the coffee addiction is too!
Be blessed you two.

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