The Sounds of Silence

Two weeks ago, we had the opportunity to attend a silent weekend for an immersive ASL experience. Lindsey found out about the weekend first and immediately forwarded the information to Sarah. There was no question in our minds that we would go. We registered ourselves so quickly that we nearly forgot about another obligation for the same day. Our sense of team spirit kicked in, and we decided that Sarah would attend the entire weekend with Lindsey joining in on Saturday activities. And what a weekend we had!

All participants of the silent weekend signed a pledge to keep our voices off. Even at the end of the retreat, no one used voice. We found ourselves imagining how each person must sound. It was actually quite fun to have that remain a mystery. The two of us took the pledge a bit further, swearing off of using English in any form as much as possible. We worked around the challenge of necessary “I’ve arrived and I’m safe” text message updates by sending along pictures. Taking a weekend to use non-verbal forms of communication exclusively challenged us to see the world a bit differently. If you’re a hearing person who hasn’t experienced silence often or at all, have you ever wondered what silence feels like?

In the silence, we felt energy. What would you do if you wanted to get a person’s attention without shouting? What if you wanted to get an entire group of people to pay attention? Over the weekend, we saw a great variety of strategies. Sometimes, things worked like phone trees with everyone getting the attention of 2 or 3 people immediately nearby. Other times, the facilitators would flick the lights on and off. Our favorite strategy was dancing around the room while waving both arms to say, “Hi! Hello!” In the silence, there was movement everywhere.

In the silence, we found community. Everyone present wanted each and every person to be successful communicating in ASL and meeting individual goals for the weekend. It didn’t matter that we have only been studying ASL seriously for a few weeks. People helped us to tell them our story of Sarah’s hearing loss and our efforts at developing alternate forms of communication. They identified the progress we’ve made in a few weeks and gave us insights into how this language works. We loved learning about classifiers and other grammatical concepts. Sarah also learned a heap of new vocabulary just by being immersed in the language for a few days. It was Lindsey’s first fully immersive experience, and Lindsey left Saturday feeling much better equipped to have voice-off conversations in ASL. In the silence, we could dialogue about our hopes, our fears, and our feelings as we negotiate the complex elements of rapidly progressing hearing loss.

In the silence, we experienced joy. When everyone had their voices off, Lindsey heard sounds that neither of us had ever noticed before. A smile after two people successfully move past a struggle to communicate has an up s sound when the air held as bated breath gets released through the lips. We observed that other hearing people try and carried themselves more lightly so they didn’t  unintentionally interrupt a conversation by stomping their feet. Lindsey heard clothing crinkling as people enthusiastically used their bodies in various ways to interact with the entire retreat community. And best of all, Lindsey heard the laughter of the group much more robustly. Sarah experienced joy in an entirely different way. On Saturday of the retreat, Sarah was having a particularly low hearing day. But for the first time, it didn’t matter. No one noticed because there was no expectation that talking with another person requires being able to hear. Our experience of silence that weekend was vastly different from Sarah’s other experiences of silence: it wasn’t terrifying or distressing. Instead, it was totally normal. It was the reality of that moment in time, and we embraced it. In the silence, we realized that being silent changes how a person interacts with the world. The silence is neither better nor worse than noise; it’s just different.

In the silence, we experienced the beginnings of healing. The silent weekend provided us with a blessed 48 or so hours of feeling understood and loved. We met lots of people: others who have lost their hearing, family members, interpreting students. For the first time ever, we met people who could say to us, “I get it. I really do. And it’s not always going to be so hard.”

The past several months have brought about many challenges for us, and it has been difficult for us to find spaces where others appreciate those for what they are rather than assuming what they must be. While we’re deeply appreciative of all the emotional support that friends and readers have extended to us, Sarah has been surprised at how often we’re told, “I’m so sorry about the hearing loss. That must be frightening,” and how infrequently our loved ones see that vertigo–not a hearing problem–is the disabling part of Sarah’s Ménière’s disease. Being wiped out and flat on the floor for hours at a time is what keeps Sarah from living fully, and in some ways the hearing loss itself is a blessing. It’s been hard for us to talk with others about this because the vast majority of people we know see deafness as a disability rather than a different but equally valuable way of life. Granted, Sarah is experiencing some grief over not being able to interact with the hearing world in all the same ways as before, and is still figuring out how to cope with feeling stuck between two worlds. But we’re finding that there are positive aspects of hearing loss. Sarah has begun to notice visual details more acutely, and is also starting to recognize that there are wonderful nonverbal ways of being an extrovert. We’re taking in mounds of information about Deaf culture that we never would have known otherwise. And learning ASL is so much fun. It’s not a chore or an obligation. At the silent weekend, all of this was accepted and valued. There was no “poor deaf girl” or “you’re such a hero for facing this” rhetoric. We were just two regular people existing with other human beings and letting the silence apply its balm to our souls.

Because of our experience at the silent weekend, we’re noticing with every passing day that silence is a gift from God. Hesitant as Lindsey was at first about learning ASL, we’ve begun to develop a love of silence. We have our own silent evenings at home now, and those are some of our most precious times together. We love going out in our city and being able to hold basic conversations with each other from across large rooms and in environments with lots of noise. Though we couldn’t have imagined this before we actually went, our silent weekend experience was not simply a resource or a practice session. It was the start of a new adventure in our life together as a family.

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Our Wild Ride Together

One of the things we appreciate most about each other is our mutual love of learning. Before meeting, our intellectual and leisure interests were markedly different with rare surprising areas of overlap. But since the beginnings of our friendship, we’ve gravitated toward sharing aspects of our individual lives that we never would have thought possible. Being able to join and participate in each other’s fantastically nerdy and fun avocations has enlivened both of us. It has been like the transformation of plants in springtime after the first rain showers of the season arrive. Neither of us could have imagined that due to Lindsey’s frequent discussions of engineering design, wondering “How is this made?” would become second nature for Sarah upon encountering objects of all kinds. Likewise, we never would have thought Lindsey might develop an interest in the theological basis of Christian social action movements after engaging in hours of conversation about Sarah’s research. Sometimes, our different personal interests don’t pique each other’s curiosity at all. Lindsey will probably never convince Sarah that American Pickers is anything other than boring, and it’s unlikely that Sarah’s knack for painting or sewing will ever rub off on Lindsey. One never knows for sure, though. A couple of weeks ago, we spent some time on a day trip together reflecting on one of Sarah’s hobbies that, over the past two years, has become a rather unexpected aspect of our shared life.

Having grown up in Eastern Kentucky, Sarah has always been passionate about wildlife. In childhood, Sarah fell in love with all creatures inhabiting the surrounding area. Some of Sarah’s best memories are of sprinting outdoors in bare feet to get a closer look at a snake, turtle, or lizard that Sarah’s dad had found in the backyard…or of catching a red-eyed tree frog to hide in the basket while Sarah’s mom was removing laundry from the clothesline. Every time a member of the family found an orphaned baby animal, Sarah would insist that it not be left to fend for itself. Over the years, Sarah’s family provided care for dozens of reptiles, birds, and small mammals. Sarah still remembers being twelve years old and mourning for a week over the death of a hatchling grouse that was impossible to save. This love for all kinds of wildlife has never become less important. Whether it’s using a broomstick and cat carrier to rescue a young opossum stuck on a fire escape or getting a late start on work after coaxing a reluctant cicada out of the apartment complex early in the morning, a typical day for Sarah almost always involves an interaction with our city’s wildlife.

Very soon after the two of us met, Lindsey learned of Sarah’s interest in wildlife. As we each found out about what brings the other joy, this item arose frequently in conversation. Within the first two weeks of our friendship, Lindsey knew that Sarah had taken a course for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation volunteers, and that eventually Sarah hopes to become more active in supporting the local wildlife center. Lindsey had never been particularly interested in wild animals before meeting Sarah, but long before we decided to pursue a celibate partnership we sensed that Sarah’s enthusiasm about creatures great and small was a beneficial topic for us to discuss together. In no time at all Lindsey was asking Sarah, “How does one safely rescue an injured eagle? Why do migrating songbirds crash into windows of tall buildings? What are you supposed to do if a duck has nested on your roof? Is it possible to save a snake that has swallowed something inedible?”

Later on as we moved in together and began to conceive of ourselves as a family, we had many conversations about the choices we had made individually with regard to donations. We talked about organizations, causes, and ministries that we value, and ultimately came to one mind about which of these should receive support from us jointly. At that point, Sarah introduced Lindsey to the Wildlife Center of Virginia. While not exactly local to us, this wildlife center is one of the nation’s most successful, and a trip there and back from our city can be undertaken within a day. Sarah explained to Lindsey the significance of this organization’s work, and we decided that as a family, we would sponsor two education animals: Buttercup the Black Vulture and Ruby the Red-Tailed Hawk. Something about these two birds resonated deeply with both of us. Sarah has always had a special interest in creatures that most people consider unattractive and nonessential to a healthy ecosystem, so a vulture in particular seemed an appropriate animal to sponsor.

Over the summer this year, we learned that the Wildlife Center of Virginia would be holding some open house dates. Sarah was thrilled at the opportunity to visit over Labor Day weekend and immediately registered the two of us. Lindsey was eager to welcome this new experience, but had some doubts. Even as we headed toward Charlottesville on that Saturday morning, we both knew that Lindsey wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of spending one whole day of a three-day weekend learning about veterinary equipment and animals kept for educational programs. But all that changed as soon as our tour of the facility began. First, everyone present for the open house listened to a presentation about the Center’s history, intake process for animal patients, and rehabilitation approaches. Albus the Eastern Rat Snake introduced himself to us. Under most circumstances, Lindsey is terrified of snakes. But Albus brought a mysterious sense of charm that calmed even the most squirmy, snake-fearing children who were present.

Albus the Rat Snake

Albus the Eastern Rat Snake

Next, we were given the chance to see some of the outdoor enclosures where the Center’s education animals live. A volunteer explained each animal’s story to us and provided some education on the roles they all play in Virginia’s ecosystems. Both of us were excited to meet them, especially Buttercup and Ruby.

Ruby the Red-Tailed Hawk (Unfortunately, we couldn't get a better photo of her.)

Ruby the Red-Tailed Hawk (Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a better photo of her.)

The Center describes Buttercup as a “charismatic black vulture,” and they aren’t kidding. Buttercup is so friendly and imprinted on humans that he rushes to the front of his enclosure anytime visitors come. We took a short video of this.

Any doubts that Lindsey may have had about driving all morning to visit a vulture quickly melted away.

Buttercup the Black Vulture

Buttercup the Black Vulture

Even Sarah was surprised by what we saw inside the Center’s hospital facility, which was the final part of the open house tour. The level of care offered to the animals at this place is superb. Neither of us was aware of how much effort employees and volunteers put into creating and implementing nutrition plans and exercise regimens for each patient. We also developed a new appreciation for the challenge of keeping wild animals wild so they can return to their habitats after receiving needed care. By the time we were ready to leave, Lindsey was saying, “I have to get these people to come to the school where I teach and give a presentation. There are so many engineering design connections I could make with the students!”

Since our visit, Sarah has been thrilled to see Lindsey’s enthusiasm over International Vulture Awareness Day. We celebrated this year by wearing our “Keep Calm and Carrion” t-shirts and sporting our “carrion bags.”

Carrion Bag

Lindsey probably never thought we would say this, but we cherish the ways in which Sarah’s love of wildlife have opened new spaces of enjoyment and interest for Lindsey as well. Vultures and the like are now part of our regular conversations around the dinner table and during long drives. What we’ve learned and continue to learn from this experience is the importance of giving both of us space to be ourselves as fully as possible. This gives us equal freedom to explore new areas of life together, and also freedom to say, “No thanks,” when one of us has an interest that the other feels no connection to whatsoever. It keeps us open to the millions of possibilities that life together affords us. And it makes every day we spend together a truly wild ride.

Comment Policy: Please remember that we, and all others commenting on this blog, are people. Practice kindness. Practice generosity. Practice asking questions. Practice showing love. Practice being human. If your comment is rude, it will be deleted. If you are constantly negative, argumentative, or bullish, you will not be able to comment anymore. We are the sole moderators of the combox.

The Story of Our Gravatar Icon

We believe that inside jokes can be great fun, and our readers who have been with us since our first month are well aware of this. Once early on in our blogging adventure, we shared about why we think it essential for us to bring a camel to church. Since it’s Friday and we’re sure some of you are just as in need of a smile as we are, we thought it would be fun to let you all in on another of our inside jokes.

If you follow us on Facebook or happen to glance at our Gravatar icon here or our profile photo on Twitter, then you may have seen a curious image. For quite some time, we’ve had a few observant readers contacting us to inquire about this seemingly random pair of rodents.

A Cambodian striped squirrel and a Dzhungarian hamster

A Cambodian striped squirrel and a Dzhungarian hamster at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC

Why in the world would we have a squirrel and a hamster standing together on a platform as our chosen Gravatar, Twitter, and Facebook images? As you might expect, the story of this photo is a bit of a wandering tale.

We are two quirky nerds who love doing life together. Very early on in our friendship, we started talking about introverts. The ever-extroverted Sarah was having trouble understanding why anyone would want to hide in a room after a day at work interacting with a lot of people. Lindsey responded to Sarah’s confusion by sharing Dr. Carmella’s Guide to Understanding the Introverted. This extremely helpful cartoon guide opens with, “Introverted people live in a human-sized hamster ball.”  We talked about how it’s always important to respect an introvert’s hamster ball by not invading personal space too quickly. Since Lindsey is an introvert, it became a routine for Sarah to ask, “May I come into the hamster ball?” when wanting to occupy a seat on the same sofa, or enter into a Skype conversation (as we weren’t living in the same city at the time). It wasn’t too long before Lindsey became known as “Hamster.”

Lindsey’s honestly rubbish about making up nicknames of any kind. We spent many hours talking during our early days of friendship. One of the first things Lindsey learned about Sarah was that Sarah loves wildlife. Lindsey wanted to think of an animal that described Sarah, but was struggling until Lindsey noticed Sarah’s big, thick, bushy hair. When it’s tied up in a ponytail high on Sarah’s head, it looks like a squirrel’s tail. And because we already knew about our mutual love of kids’ movies, Lindsey decided to pay homage to Up and start calling Sarah, “Squirrel.”

Ever since, we’ve been constantly referring to ourselves as Hamster and Squirrel. Over time, this odd little inside joke has expanded to include some of our closest mutual friends. Sarah, the wildlife nerd, memorized the information on hundreds of animal profile cards as a child and can still recall all of it, so it didn’t take long before we started seeing admirable animal (specifically rodent) qualities in people who play significant roles in our lives. One of our friends is tall and lanky and conducts himself much like a ferret. Another friend is soft, cuddly, and warm like a chinchilla. Sometimes we let our friends pick their own creatures. We have friends who have chosen capybara, agouti, kangaroo rat, and the like. With so many fun creatures, we decided to start looking for the array of our friends’ animals whenever we would visit zoos, pet stores, or museums. Photos of said animals make great accompaniments for “We miss you and you should come visit us soon!” text messages.

The National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC has a Hall of Mammals. This exhibit has hundreds of specimens on display. Naturally, on one of our visits there, we started looking for our friends’ respective rodents. We were rather impressed that we found a ferret, a capybara, and a chinchilla. Not surprisingly, Lindsey wondered whether the museum had a hamster. We continued our search and discovered that, yes, the Museum of Natural History does, in fact, have a hamster on display…and the hamster even stands next to a squirrel. We knew immediately that we had to snap a photo.

This story might sound silly, immature, and perhaps trivial. But having fun together is an essential part of an authentic relationship. One of the reasons why we love our adventures in spotting members of the order rodentia is that this inside joke has extended far beyond the two of us and marks out our family of choice. Sharing life together involves celebrating our mutual quirkiness. Finding people who appreciate your unique qualities can be challenging. We’re interested in hearing from you in the comments about seemingly trivial or unusual aspects of life that, odd as they may be, are important components in the bonds you share with your own family of choice. Have you seen any signature quirks extend far beyond the small group where they originated?

Comment Policy: Please remember that we, and all others commenting on this blog, are people. Practice kindness. Practice generosity. Practice asking questions. Practice showing love. Practice being human. If your comment is rude, it will be deleted. If you are constantly negative, argumentative, or bullish, you will not be able to comment anymore. We are the sole moderators of the combox.

Books, Buses, and Broadway: Our Matilda Adventure

“Just because you find that life’s not fair, it
Doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it!
If you always take it on the chin and wear it
You might as well be saying, you think that it’s ok
And that’s not right!
And if it’s not right, you have to put it right!
But nobody else it gonna put it right for me,
Nobody but me is going to change my story,
Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty!”

As we have mentioned before, we love to travel. Since the beginning of our partnership, there has hardly been a road trip that hasn’t included us belting out the above lyrics with exuberance. They are the last few lines of a song called, “Naughty” from Matilda, The Musical. This song seems to be our anthem in times when life is extra difficult and challenging. For those who aren’t familiar, Matilda is based on a children’s book of the same name by the famous British author Roald Dahl, who also penned James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In the story, Matilda Wormwood is a young girl of extraordinary intellectual abilities who was born into a family that not only devalues learning, but also mocks and ridicules the educated. Matilda develops a close friendship with her teacher, Miss Honey, who recognizes Matilda’s gifts and encourages her to continue developing her mind.

Both of us adored this book when we were children. Being two little eggheads who didn’t always fit in with the social environments at our schools, we found many easily relatable situations in Matilda’s story. After meeting each other, we discovered that we have both reread Matilda periodically during childhood and adulthood.

When Lindsey was living in England a couple of years ago, Lindsey was beyond excited to discover that the Royal Shakespeare Company had produced a musical based upon this beloved book. Eventually, Lindsey saw the production in London’s West End and thoroughly enjoyed it. Around the time we decided to begin our partnership, Lindsey discovered the show was going to be making its Broadway debut and shared the Matilda soundtrack with Sarah. Sarah, who had also lived in England for a time, quickly became just as ecstatic about the show’s upcoming arrival in the States. For Christmas that year, Lindsey received a gift of two tickets to see Matilda on Broadway while the show was still in previews. Eagerly, we began planning for a weekend trip to New York City for the following March.

Putting together and executing a travel plan on a budget is one of our favorite things to do together because it allows us endless possibilities for creative problem solving. We’ve had a variety of costly adventures on road trips and bus trips, so saving money where we can in advance is always a high priority. Past adventures have included everything from wheel bearing malfunctions to encounters with large deer carcasses to catching strep throat and walking pneumonia in the middle of a long drive. We never know what’s in store, and we do what we can to save money on the front end. It’s great fun for us to search for coupons, discount codes, and random travel deals together. In this case, Sarah’s knack at working the Negotiator landed us a hotel for under $60 a night, and we found a great deal on two overnight tickets in order to save us a night on hotel costs.

After getting very little sleep on our bus ride, we arrived in Manhattan around 4 A.M. on the day before the show. As we had no formal plans until the next day, we did a bit of wandering until time to check into our hotel. Lindsey suggested that we venture out to Yonkers to visit a bookstore Lindsey had been wanting to see. We went to Grand Central Station to get the requisite train tickets. New York geography is not Lindsey’s strongest point, and Sarah was amused to see Lindsey’s shocked expression upon discovering that Yonkers isn’t actually part of New York City. We acquired nearly as many books as we could carry, took some time to rest, and then headed back into the city to find our hotel in Queens.

On the day of the show, we spent most of the morning meandering about the subway trains and streets, meeting up with Lindsey’s friend Evan, and trading lyrics to our favorite Matilda songs. We had fun imagining ourselves being half as talented as these kids:

With the showtime finally drawing near, we made our way to the theatre. Our tickets were for the upper balcony, which usually isn’t a problem. However, after 30 seconds in our seats, it was clear that Sarah’s vertigo was not going to cooperate to allow Sarah to enjoy the show. Lindsey clicked into high gear problem solving, coordinated with the ushers, and managed to negotiate a plan where we would sit on folding chairs at the back of the mezzanine level, one flight down.

The show was absolutely incredible in a way that only a Broadway show can be. We sat next to each other, each squeezing the other’s hand whenever the show was about to have reach a “good part.” Because we knew the London soundtrack backwards and forwards, we got many chuckles at how the show had been translated for an American audience. We’re so glad that Dr. Who has come to the States so the show could keep the line “But maybe your largeness is a bit like a Tardis, considerably roomier inside” during the scene where Bruce Bogtrotter eats the Trunchbull’s massive cake.

We’re both incredibly excitable people at times. The best part of sharing the show together was having an experience where it was legitimately acceptable to be 110% excited. When you want to bounce with exuberance, you should be able to bounce. When you want to squeal with delight, you should be able to squeal. When you want to dance, you should be able to dance. When you want to review the experience play-by-play with someone else who knows what happened, you should be able to provide your commentary. We continue to sing Matilda lyrics with exuberance because we both absolutely loved the show.

After the show had ended, we made our way back to the Megabus stop to catch a 1:15 A.M. bus bound for home. We had an important engagement the next morning and wanted to do everything humanly possible to get back from New York City. Sometimes you need to be creative to make an adventure work… and sometimes you just need to be a little bit naughty.

Comment Policy: Please remember that we, and all others commenting on this blog, are people. Practice kindness. Practice generosity. Practice asking questions. Practice showing love. Practice being human. If your comment is rude, it will be deleted. If you are constantly negative, argumentative, or bullish, you will not be able to comment anymore. We are the sole moderators of the combox.

Have you ever gone to church with a camel?

All close relationships, whether among friends or family, include fantastically enjoyable inside jokes. Inside jokes can add a lot of fun. We think inside jokes are great.

Over the last week, we’ve been sharing a lot of serious thoughts. It’s time to mix things up a bit, and let you all in on one of our inside jokes. Humor is just as much a part of intimacy as sharing from an incredibly vulnerable place.

So with that, we ask, “Have you ever gone to church with a camel?”

This question is probably one of the strangest you’ve ever been asked (unless you live in an area where it’s customary to bring camels to church. If you do hail from that kind of community, would you be willing to post a picture in the comments?)

Anyone who has ever had the privilege of being around a napping Lindsey can attest to the fact that you never know what a napping Lindsey is capable of saying. While sleeping, Lindsey tends to ramble constantly. Some frequent topics include (but are not limited to) the following: the physics of water balloons, creative poetical explorations, industrial engineering, diverse letters we wish we could actually send to people, Lindsey’s alter-ego that is a self-proclaimed superhero, and theological rants of various stripes. Because Lindsey never knows what sleeping Lindsey is going to say, Lindsey has grown accustomed to asking for regular sleep-talking reports.

Two Christmases ago, we drove the wildest circuit across multiple states to visit with our friends and families. For three weeks, we spent just about every waking (and sleeping) moment together as we logged over 3000 miles in Lindsey’s car while stopping at hotels along the way. Several other couples we know have commented on how traveling together can act as a crucible to forge a relationship. We’re prone to agree, especially as we never once turned on the music in the car throughout this whole trip because we were so engrossed in conversation.

One night on this trip, the ever-creative sleeping Lindsey asked very loudly, “Have you ever gone to church with a camel?” Sarah had not yet had this experience. After we both woke up in the morning, Sarah delivered the sleep-talking report while laughing hysterically. Lindsey thought this question was rather brilliant and decided to search for a cuddly (stuffed) camel.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a camel? [NB: It’s really really really hard. If you’re looking for one to purchase for yourself, it’s worth praying that a beloved small person in your life avoids camels as a prime animal of interest.]

Over the next couple of months, we searched for a camel. We went to various malls, to specialty toy stores, to museums, to zoos…. you name it. No camel. In April, we found ourselves on another road trip to Saint Louis, Missouri. Sarah had previously lived in Saint Louis and suggested that we go and check out the penguins at the Saint Louis Zoo. Lindsey thinks zoos rock and that penguins can only make a zoo cooler, so off we went. We arrived at the zoo much later than hoped for and found ourselves trying to make the most of the hour before the zoo would close. We bolted immediately to the penguin exhibit. Along the way, we noted that the Saint Louis Zoo also has camels. Since we didn’t exactly have time to traverse all the way over to the camel enclosure, Lindsey had the bright idea of scouring the gift shop to see if there was a camel.

We looked all over the store. At first we found a couple of resin camel figurines, which weren’t exactly what we were looking for. We asked at the register. The person working the register that day seemed to have a vague idea that there might be some stuffed camels among the rest of the African animals. We looked, we kept looking, and we looked some more. We looked as individuals, we looked as a team of three, and we still looked. Finally, on a high shelf towards the left side of the display, we spotted the camel. Victorious, we went to the register to complete the transaction.

Cleopas the Camel

Cleopas wanted to say, “Hello”

We left the store with our new camel tucked securely under Lindsey’s arm. Lindsey is an ardent believer in quickly naming new additions to the family, and we promptly settled on Cleopas. After all, the desire for our camel came from our travels together. One traveler’s blessing we particularly enjoy says, “As you O Lord journeyed with Luke and Cleopas on the road to Emmaus….” Our camel was much more a Cleopas than a Luke.

Our camel has joined us on many traveling adventures and many trips to church on Sunday. Cleopas remains safely in the backseat of the car throughout the service; we figure that most people didn’t bring their camels into the church building with them. For us, Cleopas is not only the result of an inside joke, but is more importantly a symbol of the joy we experience while we travel together.

In case you are wondering, Cleopas did join us on our recent trip to Chicago. Camels are very useful on long road trips.

Comment Policy: Please remember that we, and all others commenting on this blog, are people. Practice kindness. Practice generosity. Practice asking questions. Practice showing love. Practice being human. If your comment is rude, it will be deleted. If you are constantly negative, argumentative, or bullish, you will not be able to comment anymore. We are the sole moderators of the combox.