Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Katie and the Inn of the Sixth Happiness by Marion Dietrich

When I was a child, my ambitions were relatively tame.  Instead of playing in the school orchestra or band beginning in Grade 4, I wanted to play the guitar.  My heroes were Peter, Paul and Mary and Joan Baez.  I dreamed of being a folk singer and changing the world.  This was a bitter pill for my British mother who wanted me to play the viola in the school orchestra.  Why couldn’t I just do what everybody else did?  Why did I always want something that wasn’t even on the table?

When our daughter, Katie, was in sixth grade she heard a story told by her social studies teacher about a woman who went to China to be a missionary.  This woman had no financial support, no command of the Chinese language, minimal education and no organizational covering.  Also, she went by train and there was a war going on between Russia and Japan so the railroad was closed.  When she arrived in China, the woman with whom she was going to work was ill and died shortly after her arrival.  Nevertheless, God worked amazingly through this little woman, miraculously even, so Katie and her best friend, Lauren, decided that one day they too would go to China.  
Gladys Aylward
 Being the mother of a focused, highly verbal, ambitious, precocious child comes with its own set of mothering needs.   One tool that I did not use until Katie was in college was one I should have picked up years earlier:  I should always have believed that come hell or high water, she was going to do what she set out to do.  So why was I so surprised that in the summer of their junior year of college, Katie and Lauren went to China to teach children English.  It changed all of our lives forever.
Katie and Lauren in China at last!
Why you are writing about this now, you may ask.  My role has changed, you see.  I am now the storyteller, and my students are my children.  I teach in the school Katie attended, I tell the same story to the 6th grade and sometimes I get a similar reaction.  So when a student asks me with wide-eyed wonder if people still believe in the call of God, still go to China, still have every need met, still get to live their dream even when everything seems against it, I can tell them with complete veracity that they do.   My answer is neither speculative nor hypothetical, because my child, the light of my life, the joy of my being, the answer to my prayers, my child Katie went to China and fulfilled the call she heard as a young girl in 6th grade.  My amazing daughter, when she heard God say, “Whom shall I send?” said, “Send me.”

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