When Lura and I started our correspondence, I thought she was a trans woman. Otherwise, how could she understand a transgender person so well? When she told me she had a son, I said, “Good for you, I’m glad to hear you are a mother,” for I believe most trans women would like to be a mother but are unable to do so. When I discovered my mistake, I felt amazed that a cisgender woman could feel such empathy for transgender people.
She once wrote to me, “I know too much about love to worry about the outside of people. The inside is where the truth is. I love people based on what is inside their head and heart. Love accepts completely and overcomes things that people think are impossible.”
Gradually I have taken her as a faithful friend, a friend worth treasuring. Whenever there are things I can`t talk about with people around me — for instance, my affection for a woman or my inability to produce children — she is the one I can confide with. I know she will always write back warmly and many times she has provided me with new perspectives. And once secrets are shared, they don`t seem to be as heavy as they are when we carry them alone. Sharing my secrets makes it easier for me to let go and I gain strength to move on.
The night Lura first announced Life Beyond My Body on Facebook, she wrote me:
I have never felt the geographical distance between us so acutely as I do at this moment. There have been times when I wished you could be here so I could show you something I think you would find interesting, but mostly, the miles between us feel like the miles between me and my brothers: I wish I could see their faces, but I talk to them often and love them dearly, as always, so I don’t let the geographical distance bother me. But this. . .this beginning to tell people about the book. . .it feels lonely without you. We traveled together from the first moment when it was an idea and came all this way. . .it doesn’t feel satisfying to have you in China and me in America.
I replied, “Because of the distance, you don`t see my shortcomings. If you see me every day, you might have to put up with me.”
She said I might feel the same about her.
For almost three years, we had existed in each other`s lives and held goodwill toward each other, but never met. On October 10th, the hour to meet was upon us. Would we be what we had expected of each other? As the airfoils of my plane tilted for the landing, a nervous spasm passed through me, which became stronger as the airplane dashed down the runway. I had arrived in Portland, Oregon and there was no turning back.
I was seated at the back of the plane, so the crowd of passengers had dissipated by the time I exited the jet bridge. As I walked and wondered where to get my luggage, I noticed a smile and intent look from a lady standing up ahead. I believed this must be Lura Frazey. When I got close, we smiled and said, “Hello.” She looked and sounded familiar.
“Do you know who I am?” I asked.
“Of course,” she replied.
Almost at the same time, we reached out our arms and hugged. I could feel the warmth of her cheek.
After lunch in a Vietnamese restaurant, Lura drove me to her home in the woods. She showed me the garden with enthusiasm, her dog Charlie bouncing around us. For my arrival, she had specially prepared a bedroom. I really appreciated her thoughtfulness, which reminded me of Jesus` promise of going ahead to prepare a place for me in his Father`s house. In a way, that promise was demonstrated in my room at Lura’s house. The walls were newly painted; a nice lamp and a comfortable chair had been ordered; a Bible, notebook and pens were set on my desk; there was even pair of binoculars on the windowsill so I could watch birds.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you taken a leap of faith about going somewhere new and found a wonderful welcome when you arrived? How did that welcome affect you? Please share your story with me in the comments.
I look forward to hearing from you!