Friday, March 27, 2009

Fine Wine

(The title of this post is ironic since I have recently discovered that my migraines are caused by red wine, so I can't enjoy it anymore. Still, I think it's a good analogy)

I have a theory about good wine. The first good wine is always the best. Once you've had a really good wine, a good, aged, full-bodied (I call it round) wine, every other wine, even good ones, will not quite reach the quality of that first great glass. For me, that good wine was a red zinfandel from California that I had last May at Paul's parents' house. I can still close my eyes and feel the smoothness of it. It was one of those wines that you don't just taste--you experience it. Since then (until I was no longer able to drink it), every sip of wine I've had has been compared to that one. It's the standard.

Today we had our last "team day," a day together before the Crulls go on furlough, and then Amy, and then Paul and I move to the States. Our last time all together as a team. We reminisced about the last several years, about our relationships with each other and the amazing things God has done in our lives and in Madrid. I love these people so much, and have learned so much.

For me, the experience of working on the Oasis Madrid team has been my fine wine, my red zinfandel. It has been more than a job, it has been a life-changing experience. It has affected the way I view church, God, the world around me, family, myself, work, everything.

I'm lucky to have had such an experience. Just like most people in the world don't have the luxury of even clean water (much less good wine), I think many people don't get to experience community in this way, for this long. I have been irreversibly changed.

I'm not saying I won't have good work or church experiences again. I'm just realizing that this is my "first good wine." It's the standard that new good experiences will bring to mind.

I'm so thankful for this team and this experience. If I leave here with one emotion, it will be greatfulness.

Thank you, Oasis Madrid and Christian Associates, for five years of fine wine.

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