Saturday, July 18, 2009

The von Trapps: Shining brightly, making joyful noises, ever encouraging

If their last name were Jones or Mutsindashyaka,…
If they could not hit a note with a baseball bat…
Or carry a note in a wheelbarrow…
I would still greatly treasure their friendship, for there is something very special about the von Trapps,... even greater than their renowned talent as international performers.
They are all home schooled, with very hungry and creative minds, gracious hearts, both patient and active listeners,… so very sweet, kind, and humble.

Justin is the youngest,… 14 going on 40. He is an amazingly “old soul”. Although technically “home schooled”, he is in fact essentially self-educated. He has an incredible imagination. When we navigated the Musanze cavern together, he imagined finding the Ark of the Covenant, informing me as to when and where it was last seen (according to Scripture), and then moderating a discussion as to what we should do if we were to find it. Should we open it? Should we even touch it? Should we list it on eBay? He is a great conversationalist, who often communicates in spontaneous, ad libbed song.

Amanda is a most amazing servant-hearted saint. I caught her singing while doing an enormous mountain of dirty dishes following a dinner party at our home that she did not even attend. I insisted that she “Stop!”, but she insisted (and somehow actually persuaded me) that doing such chores brings her such joy that I should not deny her. I thereupon joined her, not because I have the same servant’s heart, but because she has obviously laid hold of something great and I wanted to experience it.

Melanie is as sweet and kind as her siblings, and perhaps the most reserved, but these still waters run REALLY deep into the heart of God. When we played a “What if…? Would you…?” game late into the night, Melanie always spoke last and stunned us with an insight that seemed to come from God Himself,... stuff far deeper than what is predictable. I soon learned to say nothing at all, but to instead silently wait for Melanie to speak. (Proverbs 17:28)

Sofia (called Sofie, spelled Sofi) is the eldest, and the servant leader and loving shepherd of the family flock. She most certainly does not demand respect (for she never demands anything), but well-deserved, great respect is quite naturally demonstrated by everyone around her. It seems to be Sofie’s perspective that everything is always exactly as it should be. She can sleep on a concrete floor (and did!) and cheerfully announce with her ever-present grin: “That was a wonderful night’s sleep!” Sofie presently hones her craft at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

The von Trapps are very special dispensers of God's love and grace and joy,... and a great blessing to many.