Monday, August 23, 2010

Familiar Face

Sam and Alec were best buds.
If you're a two and three year old, being best buds involves lots of chasing and squealing and knee slapping at jokes that involve a cow and a cookie and no punch line whatsoever.
It means striking Buzz Lightyear poses, side by side. "To Infinity...and Beyond!"
It means hanging tough together on your first days of preschool, when the French teacher keeps talking at you and you have no idea what she's saying.

Alec was the American friend Madame Charbonnier wrote about in Sam's hilarious report card from Toute Petite Section (English translation) : Samuel speaks neither French nor English. He likes to play alone or with the American friend in our class and is not interested in our proposed activities. Perhaps when he gets bigger he will like to work with a group of children.

Just in case you haven't read the book, Sam had a much better year after that.

Sadly for us, though, Alec and his family moved back to the States a year and a half before we did. He and Sam were too young to keep up with each other. No letters, no photos sent across the miles. Alec's family moved all over the place. Denver, then Washington state, and finally to Australia!

This summer we heard rumors that Alec was moving to South Carolina. After three moves in eight years, Alec's family bought a house down the road. Alec and Sam would go to the same middle school!

Alec's mom and I wanted to get the boys together before school started, so that they'd each have an instant friend, but life was hectic and it didn't happen. "We'll try to have Alec over next weekend," I told Sam on the way to his first day of school. "Or maybe you'll see him in the halls. I can just see it now, the two of you running across the PE field, meeting in the middle with a high five, then striking the Buzz Lightyear pose, just for old time's sake."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Hate to break it to you, Mom," he said. "but that's not going to happen."

Truth is, I didn't think it would either. After all, 1000 kids go to Sam's school, and Alec would be a grade ahead anyway. The halls were separate, and even if they did run into each other, it's not like they'd recognize each other after eight years apart.

Guess what!

On day one, Sam found Alec in the mass of kids crowded by the back carpool line!
"Are you Alec?" he asked.
"Uh, yeah. Who are you?"
"I'm Sam, from France. We were best friends."
"Sam! We played Buzz Lightyear together!"

Later, I asked Sam how he recognized Alec in the crowd.
Sam shrugged his shoulders. "I guess we spent so much time together when we were little that his face was still in my brain. You know, he was important, so he stayed in there. Plus, I spent all day looking for him. I knew he was there somewhere and I just wanted to find him. If I hadn't been looking I might not have seen him. But I wanted to, so I did."

For the rest of the week, Sam and Alec hung out together at the carpool line. And for the rest of the week, Sam's explanation hung out in my head.

What was it that mesmerized me so?
I think it rang a familiar soul bell that's been tinkling in the back of my brain: the idea that if we're made in God's image and are children of God, we should be able to recognize the traces of God, the face of God, in each other.
Sometimes that's easy, and other times, with some people, it sure doesn't look like God is in there at all.

But maybe Sam knows the trick. That first, I have to really want to find God in those faces, and second, I have to spend more time looking.

Thank you, God, for old friends and renewed friendships. Thank you, too, that as you breathed the first breaths of love into each of us, you left behind traces of Yourself. Help us recognize Your face in each other.

When do you tend to see God in the face of another? I'd love to hear about it!
Have a wonder-full Monday, y'all!
Love, Becky

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

PS. Guess who came home from school with us on Friday!


Anonymous said...

Great story. It's funny how kids can remember that far back. My daughter's have managed to track down friends from preschool (we moved when they were in early elementary grades) through Facebook. Miracles of miracles!

But your last two lines say it all. We need to acknowledge, and look for that in the faces of others. He is there. Or maybe we are there to reveal His face in others.

Jean Wise said...

wonderful story. Love the line "his face was in my brian." I think the face of his best friend was also in his heart.

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Oh, that is so incredibly cool!!! Wow! Oh, this is such an testament to the power of the human heart, and soul. Loved this. What a warm feeling you must have had as all of this unfolded, bit by bit. God is so good, the way He keeps putting us in each other's paths. He really does have specific plans to keep us connecting and feeling His love.

Mompriest said...

I have been known to preach that line - either being or seeing the face of Christ in the's there. It's important, but we have to both be it and look for it intentionally. What a great story about your son and his friend!

Alise said...

I love your stories. And I love how kids can be so succinct about such massive truths.

Intentionally keeping God's face in my brain is so important, especially when there are people I don't WANT to see Him in. How important to remember that He's there in them as well.

Silicon Valley Diva said...

What an icredible, heartwarming story. Sounds like it was meant to be, these two running into each other.

What are the odds that this family would eventually move in your same area? Wow!

Faith Hope CHerrytea said...

very cool!
loved the intentionality~
reminds me of the Word, if you search after Adonai your God, you WILL find Him if you search after Him with all your heart AND being ...

lovely post, Becky - thx ;)

Laura said...

This just brought a HUGE smile to my face. Boys, boys -- friends for ever. How incredibly neat to find each other after all the years and all the miles.

And oh, Becky -- He left traces of Himself for us to see in others. When do I see those? When I'm looking because I'm in need. When I'm broken and vulnerable, I'm looking for Him ... or a loving trace of Him.

This was lovely.

Locusts and Wild Honey said...

Oh wow! Alec is back after all these years. What an awesome story.

And I love Sam's explanation as to how he remembered him. He may be a writer too!

Sarah @From Tolstoy to Tinkerbell said...

I love reading your posts! It is like reading hugs or ice cream sundaes perfectly made. I love how adults complicate God things, and children seem to understand the simplicity of faith!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Thanks for your comments, friends. You're exactly right. Kids can see so much that we adults seem to miss. I'm so glad I've got them hanging around!

Heidi Mann said...

Every previous comment is so well-put! I esp. want to "second" Alise's about seeing God also in people we don't WANT to see him in (how convicting!), and Sarah's description of your posts as "like reading hugs or ice cream sundaes perfectly made" -- beautiful!

Kelly H-Y said...

Ohhhh, his words warmed my heart. So sweet ... and true, as you pointed out!

ahmad amani said...

Enjoy of a story of Eastern peoples
i am happy of see your web

I’m a children’s writer from iran

“math city” story

a part of story:

Warning: Warning:

To all honorable numbers of the city:

Be aware that a minus called “lying line” is turning around the city.
Stay away from him. You will change to zero if he sees you, and as you
know, to become zero is as equal your death. This minus is armed with
some cold and hot weapons, sharp knife and full armed gun.

continue story in my web:

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

What a happy reunion! I love that they came together again--and the love is still there.