What began in my mind as a birthday post for Oldest daughter--her 20th birthday celebration at the end of January capped a wonderful month of family togetherness--has expanded its borders into something more...full. And while our time together inspired me to write of the fullness of Oldest Daughter's life, the fullness of our family life was juxtaposed with it, as we once again walked together, side by side.
Adding to her Christmas Break from school, Oldest Daughter spent her January/Winter Term with us in Jordan, preparing for and giving a solo concert, fulfilling her Winter Term project requirement.
Though we enjoyed the pleasant strains of violin music this summer when Oldest Daughter was home, January's concert was the first time we enjoyed the fullness of what Oldest Daughter's playing/performing( in some ways, a distinct aspect of playing) had become since her senior recital, performed in May 2008; the maturity and openness of her musical expressions was notable.
Observing the high degree to which the audience, full of long time friends and acquaintances from the community, delighted in Oldest Daughter's performance, I began contemplating the place of music, particularly live music performance, in the life of a community. Most in the audience were not aficionados of classical music, though more than a couple made comments about how Oldest Daughter's music moved them, and " carried them away to another place to enjoy beauty." Fullness of community by sharing music, beauty--beautiful music; I'm still thinking about these things...
Oldest Daughter was able to share some more of this fullness with some our our little friends--they were learning about the orchestra and came over for a special lesson about the violin.
We enjoyed fullness of fellowship and fullness of stomachs as we share some of Oldest Daughter's favorite Arab dishes with family and friends in a celebratory birthday dinner. Featured fare: Koosa Mahshi, zucchini with meat and rice stuffing, and Ma'loubi, an "upside down" dish of fried cauliflower, savory chicken, rice, and toasted almonds.
I delighted in the fullness of my relationship with an "older"daughter, who raised up from infanthood, has become a dear friend, confidante, and close sister in the Lord. God's ways are amazing!
At the end of our month together, and on Oldest Daughter's birthday, we headed just out of town, to a long-time favorite area of the countryside to enjoy each other in the fellowship of the Lord and in his creation.
In a greening field, studded with anemones and limestone we prayed together, rejoicing in the fullness of family that we had enjoyed in Christ the past month; and we prayed for Oldest daughter as she prepared to return to Oberlin, thanking God for the fullness of life that she has and is yet discovering in Jesus as she walks with Him, and asking Him to draw her ever closer to Him even as she travels far from us.