Friday, May 01, 2015

Down Under Dream

        Glen and I realized the dream of a lifetime                     in the last few weeks.  When we were getting married forty-five years ago, Glen told me that he had been to the Australian Consulate to get the papers that we needed to complete to start the process for immigrating to Australia. My response was that there was no way I was going to complete these.  Australia was too far from home, away down under, on the other side of the world.

            A few years later, the Australian singers called The Seekers came to Montreal and Glen wanted to buy tickets to their concert.  Although we both liked their singing, I refused to attend the event, lest his yearning for Australia might be rekindled. 

The Seekers - A World of our Own (1965 - Stereo, enhanced video)

            Over the years, I met many Australians in various other places in the world that I visited and I found out they were lovely people.  When I was at an International Conference in London, English in the 1990s, I discovered that the people I often enjoyed spending time with were the Australians.  I caught Glen’s fascination with the country when we became acquainted with a delightful colleague in France upon her arrival from Australia.  Our friendship kindled in me a desire to see her home country.

We decided that one day we would visit Australia.  The opportunity seemed to present itself, when our son John was working for a Management Consultant firm based in the USA.  He did a great deal of travelling and thus accumulated a lot of air miles.  One year, while we were living in France, John gave us his air miles for Christmas so we could finally realize our dream of visiting Australia.  However, the next Christmas we had not yet made our booking and found the pull of our children and our aging parents in Canada was stronger than our wanderlust. The air miles destined to take us to Australia, were used instead to take us home to Canada.

            As we moved into the level of international leadership in The Salvation Army, we wondered if one day, we might find ourselves posted to Australia, but that never happened. Finally we settled here in Montreal and almost gave up the dream of visiting the country of kangaroos and koala bears. 

            Then, last December I was thinking about how much Glen would have loved to visit Australia, and in a moment of quiet conversation with the Lord, I asked, “Would it be possible for Glen still to visit Australia before we become too old and frail and unable to travel?”  I just left the question hanging there, not knowing if this semi-prayer would be answered or not.

            About two weeks later, I had an email from a Canadian friend who had been posted to Australia with The Salvation Army.  He wanted to know how he could reach Glen.  We met him for coffee while we were in Toronto for Christmas with our son, John.  He was back in Canada from Australia at the time.  His request was for Glen to commit to a project in Australia that would require him to go there.

            Thus it was that forty-five years after his initial plans to go to Australia, Glen was finally able to visit.  In addition, I was able to go with him.  What a great time we had!  We had the chance to see the kangaroos and the koalas up close, as well as the exciting cities of Melbourne and Sydney.  I was able to reconnect with my Australian colleagues and found out that the Australians who stayed at home were just as warm and friendly as those who travelled the world.  My life continues to be enriched by God’s good gifts as He gives me the desires of my heart that sings in gratitude for His grace.

Word Guild Awards
Word Guild Awards


Peter Black said...

Wonderful! Lovely story, Eleanor. Thanks for sharing it.
How beautifully (superlatives flying, today!) the elements came together in God's way and time, as you and Glen committed yourselves to His sweet will all those years ago and maintained that commitment. ~~+~~

David Kitz said...

What a wonderful account of God's timing, Eleanor. My wife and I are flying off to Japan on Wednesday after a 30 year absence. I can definitely relate to the idea of postponed travel.

Eleanor Shepherd said...

Thank you Peter and David for your encouraging comments. We never know what joys God has in store for us, do we?

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