Monday, July 4, 2011

no words

So much has been happening this last six weeks (moving, packing, driving to STL, Wedding Week, getting married, honeymoonin', moving to Hawaii, starting work in Hawaii...) that I have severely neglected a few things, namely, thanks.

I wanted to take this blog post
to shout out my loving, humbled, gracious thanks to the dear, dear Hennighausens.

What would I have done? Seriously. WHAT would I have done without dear Fred and Mary (Frary, if you will) in my life this past year and a half? We kept saying as the days drew near for my departure that it felt like our time went by so quickly. I'm hoping that their expressions weren't just casual pleasantries, because I felt the SAME way.

It feels like yesterday when Mary was busy whipping me up some Jell-O on my second day there because of an impending - yet ultimately not occurring - root canal. And it feels like merely last week that they were schooling me in how to properly enter the Hennighausen home (no knocking allowed).



I am making myself sad with this thankful post.

Ok, onto lighter times. Some of my ABSOLUTE.HANDS.DOWN. favorite moments with these two include (but are not limited to) the following:

1. Becoming Beli-bers (in 3D), with Fred and Mary (and her seated-dance moves).
2. Enjoying my VERY FIRST Christmas Eve breakfast and white elephant gift exchange. Thank you, Pea, for the more-than-life-sized picture of some a '78 Mavs player. Thank you, Hennighausens for letting me in on the tradition.
3. EATING Mary's delicious food/ cakes for birthdays, holidays....fridays, justbecausedays.
4. Fooling Fred and Mary when Anne came home a few days early from Track. Buahahah. The 1.2 seconds of confusion when she walked in the door was priceless. ("What!? Jennie! Did you know!? You KNEW! You're so bad!")
5. Enjoying (though not eating...) a chocolate covered Spam moose head (thank you, Kroger), because I won a bet with Fred.
6. Becoming privy to many secrets of 6918 which I will always hold close to my chest. *** Unless the public announcement of which is too hilarious to avoid***
7. "Hello there, girl!" A daily Fred greeting. And "Jennnnieeeeeee," (spoken like "Gilly") whenever I may have become mischievous with above aforementioned 6918 family secrets.
8. When Fred was silly enough to leave Mary and I during finals. There may have been an incident involving a more-than-the-usual apportioned lot of chocolate. Eek.
9. Finding Santa at my wedding. They said it might happen so I couldn't possibly hold it against them, now can I?
10. The many times Fred had to sit patiently with me and explain EVERY.TIME how to work a Fredsheet. (A monthly budget sheet made by FLH). Specifically though, the very first time. I arranged my budget sheet and had to sheepishly worked in a bit of savings into my monthly income to work with for the month's expenses. FLH merely laughed and said, "Jennieeeeee. That's not right." He was so kind never to sit me in the corner with a dunce cap, and was always able to gently explain the process of "not spending more than you make." I think it FINALLY took hold...nearly 9 months later when I began to tackle my SNOWBALL OF DEBT! WOOT!

I really have to recount the reasons/ways I am thankful and CHANGED because of their gentle kindnesses.

1. I believe they taught me about listening. (Yes, still a work in progress...)
But FRED is possibly THE best listener EVER. I'm serious. If you're having a bad day, and just need a good ear, he's there to ask about it. He's there to inquire about it. He is legitimately interested in the way you cook your coffee brownies and in how your family does birthdays and how you make your bed. He is genuinely, amazingly, humble in a way that you literally FEEL cared for by the way he listens. I strive to learn this trait. It seriously is something that I've taken note of and said to myself, "Now that is something that is of solid, goldy character. I must have it." The hard part is, as it were, to actually become a good listener. It is hard. It takes selflessnesss. It takes patience. It takes....listening. Lord, let me carry that with me.

2. They taught me about laughing.
I LOVED the way we laughed and related over many, many delicious dinners together. Whether we were laughing brainlessly over Kristin Wiig's latest skit on SNL, or at the latest blooper one of us experienced that day, we LAUGHED a lot. It seriously brought me so much joy, lifted so much of "life" off of me to come home to a wonderful home cooked meal and a lovely laugh that made my sides hurt. I think there's something amazingly special about laughing with people. It draws you together. It brings you in tighter. It muffles the noise of life outside. I think Jesus must have shared amazing laughs with his peeps - it feels that holy.

3. They taught me about selflessness.
Mary and Fred were parents to the nth degree. They were people who did life in a way that allowed their children to flourish and succeed and fail and triumph with grace and gentleness. Once, Fred told Jordan that their best advice for parenting was that if what it took to raise a child was the size of a table, and the parents' part was the size of a thumbprint on that table, that they did their very best to "take that thumbprint very seriously."
And it shows. It shows in the way they've lived selflessly. Mary reads to her aging Dad. Fred is always on call for his girls. Mary returns your laundry to you with all the holes patched up and the clothes ironed and folded. How on earth do I gain this kind of attitude?
Not quite sure, but I'm aware the learning curve for sure.

4. They taught me about generosity.
Seriously. So, so very generous. In a place of great need, they literally opened their home to me. I KNOW that this is not easy. I KNOW that it can come as an inconvenience to welcome in someone to your home and say, "What is ours is yours." But they did. And I never once felt not a part of the family. Including the time when Fred and I had to only mildly-successfully hold a garage sale. My shift was the first. Never once did they ask for anything in return for their generous gift of a spacious place for me to hang my hat, and always was there a little prizey for me during Easter, Christmas, birthdays...
Eek. I'm tearing up.... onto the next....

5. They taught me about.... what to call it? I'm not sure there's really words for it. I mean, so great is what they gave me. They held me in, held me close. They gave me laughter - or well, we SHARED laughter. We shared meals. We shared set backs. We shared an ongoing joke about a transient Christmas decoration. And I guess, if I could put words to it, it seems they taught me about godly LOVE.

Yes, that's it.

I am so grateful for where I came from, and how I came a Christian home. But, still growing up, I find there are SO many people that continue to pour into your life even after the "growing up years." And I am thankful for the life that Fred and Mary poured into me. I am thankful how they called out godly integrity in Jordan and I as we dated and were engaged in my time at 6918 ("No being home alone with boys of a boyfriend persuasion.")

I think that they are missionaries in their own right. They have served faithfully at their home church; they've invested deeply into the lives of their children; they've given unselfishly and ceaselessly to those who needed it.
They have LIVED out the Gospel by being HIS hands and feet.
(And I don't even feel dorky using that reference because of how true it is!)

May it be multiplied back to them in life, love, and laughter.