What did the man in the eye patch or the woman with the lap top and newspaper think of our giggling excitement and our continual picture snapping? Who were we anyway to act as though their everyday routine was the stuff of memories?
To appreciate something, look at it as though you've never seen it before and may never see it again. Today, we decide to do this forour city. We tour some of the free sights. We exclaim at the bulbs already forcing their way out in the cold February winter. We choke up as we encounter a group of missionaries fresh from Russia and the Ukraine sight seeing before going out to selflessly serve.
We gasp as we tread on soft carpets, gaze at enormous chandeliers and examine naked cherubs decorating ceilings.
We stop and listen to an artist at practice on the organ. Some of us are so impressed, when he comes to the end of his song, we applaud.
We stop and stop and gaze at a brave Perregrin Falcon as it watches the city from its impossibly high and unique resting spot.
We dabble in fountains, gaze into pools, and use their concrete edges as balance beams.At the museum, the older ones build temples, design stained glass windows, and perform a play of Lehi's dream. The younger ones feed their nurturing instincts as they dress babies and fill out birth certificates. Jodi and I watch, encourage, giggle and marvel over how fast this stage of our lives is slipping by. We mourned the loss of lazy days at the park, play dough, and foam stickers. We welcomed the new experiences shopping, talking, exploring, and life discovery that our children are moving into.
While supervising my children, I saw a young woman watching me hungrily. She caught my eye, I gave a smile. She made her way over to me. Why me I wonder. I make polite conversation. Jodi asks where she is from. She shyly answers "Pakistan". I am stunned. The Middle East - ancient India, the seat of Muslim and Hindu unrest, one of the most ancient civilizations. I am so passionate about her people, her history, and her future. I choke up and tear up as I offer her a hug. I did not realize there were missionaries in Pakistan. She haltingly told her story and her difficulties. I left her my e-mail and phone number. "Will you remember me after my mission?" "I will never forget you." I replied. "I am here for you and your family. Whatever you need that I can provide. I am willing. I just wish we had hours to talk."
My complaint about touring other countries is that I never really get to SEE a place. Too hurried, too little time, too little understanding leaves me frustrated and longing for more. Today though, as we "tour" our own city, I wonder if tourists see more of a place and it's people than its residents who know what it looks like, smells like, feels like, and don't expect to see anything extraordinary. Today, we had tourist eyes and our city was quite interesting.