Unexpected, Back of the Bus, Blessings

Some of the group we got to know.

As I have written before, Jill and I eagerly anticipated our trip to the holy lands. It is something we had dreamed of for more than twenty years. We knew what a spiritual and fun trip it would be and we were not disappointed. But there were, of course, blessings and experiences we had not anticipated.

One of those blessings had little to do with where we were, rather it had to do with the people with whom we shared the bus. It was a two-bus tour with over 80 individuals. We got on the buses, were driven to the sites where we listened to its historical and scriptural significance and then got back on the buses to go to the next site.

Just like any LDS chapel on Sunday, we started sitting in about the same places and began to get to know those around us. (Though we did pull off a coup and sat in different seats just to mess with the front of the bus!) I was amazed at how quickly we all became friends. It was as if we knew each other for years. As Elder Maxwell accurately described this type of friendship, “… our friendships are not friendship of initiation at all, but are, instead, friendship of resumption.” (Brim with Joy, p.1.)

I give thanks for those “intersections” that seem to happen from time to time in the “kingdom”. The group with which we spent the most time (The Back-Seaters) made the trip more meaningful and certainly more fun. I was inspired by these people and have deep respect for each of them. It was hard to say good-bye. One couple left a few days early and as the Sister said good-bye, it was as if she were saying it to family. There were tears and expressions of love from all of us.

Again, Elder Maxwell describes it with beauty and eloquence.

The same God that placed that star in a precise orbit millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the Babe has given at least equal attention to placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others but warm them as well. (That My Family Should Partake, p. 86.)

So to our new, “resumptive” friends (you know who you are) thank you for a wonderful time and for your love. We look forward to “intersecting” again someday and remembering our time in the holy lands.


4 Responses to Unexpected, Back of the Bus, Blessings

  1. Steve and Carol Walker says:

    Amen to your words! We miss everyone and recollect fondly our time together. We will be getting together with Sandy and Doug as soon as they have their pictures organized and will send you copies, especially the “white paper bag” photo!

    Steve and Carol

  2. Mike & Sandy Halverson says:

    Your Mormon Times article was great. I was first attracted to the photo, next started reading the article without paying any attention to the author. The further I got into it the more I found myself thinking how similar our experiences had been on a trip to the Holy Land – it expressed my feelings exactly. Then I got smart and paid attention to the author – Troy Parker; wife Jill – the Puffers – the yellow bus!
    Thanks for sharing. Love your blog.
    Mike & Sandy (Wilcox) Halverson

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