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Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

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Once in every show
There comes a song like this
It starts off soft and low
And ends up with a kiss
Oh where is the song
That goes like this?
Where is it? Where? Where?

A sentimental song
That casts a magic spell
They all will hum along….

…..For this is the song that goes like this

Yes it is!
Yes it is!

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I was reminded of this tune during a performance on our university campus this past Friday night. A hilariously funny tune from the Broadway musical Spamalot, it got me to thinking. (sorry to spoil the fun). Is this how other parts of our life come across? Once in every “show”…?

We have a visitor in our home for a few days. A resident of Asian culture, Christianity and the traditions of Western religion are a “foreign” experience to her, indeed. As our church song service began this Sunday morning, I almost wondered if the tunes in her mind resembled the crooning of “Sir Dennis” in his quest for the Holy Grail. She was polite and present with her attention, but I wonder greatly how it all seemed to her.

Now we can go straight
Into the middle eight
A bridge that is too far for me

I’ll sing it in your face
While we both embrace
And then….We change…The key…

Now we’re into E!
*hem* That’s awfully high for me
But as everyone can see
We should have stayed in D
For this is our song that goes like this!

As my family and I sit in our living room with our guest tonight, we are experiencing the Grammys. I must say, as much as we each enjoy music of various and sundry varieties, I think it is a first for us all to share in viewing this award show in “Hacienda Bing”. But, take heart. The night is not a loss: I believe that I may now know how to fight “Foo”, along with those brave boys with the long hair, whatever that means. And I must say, our friend from the East appears to be really enjoying the broadcast, as are my young twins in fits and spurts. I even took time to Wiki “Adele”. Quite impressive.

Did I mention that Glen Campbell was once a CofC guy and that Katie Perry was a preacher’s kid?

I’m feeling very proud
You’re singing far too loud
That’s the way that this song goes
You’re standing on my toes
Singing our song that goes like this!

I can’t believe there’s more
It’s far too long, I’m sure
That’s the trouble with this song
It goes on and on and on
For this is our song that is too long!

So, here we are. The music performance I enjoy so much each Sunday is a product of my culture and confined universe. I now see that oh so much more clearly. But, does it adequately portray our love and heart for Christ and seeking His lost sheep, or is it just another “Song That Goes Like This”?

And so, our quest for the Holy Grail continues. Hopefully, for new friends from foreign lands, it is only just beginning.

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Elder daughter walked into the kitchen tonight holding a large box.

“Hey, Hank, what’s in the box?”, I wondered. Perhaps, a dead cat? Sorry, wrong story, and I digress.

No, her box contains money and momentos from days now past spent on the other side of the world. It was great to see her unpack the memories and unfold some more tales from the Pacific Rim.

Just a few nights ago over some good coffee, she listened with wide eyed wonder as I spoke of traversing the roofline of a youth hostel overlooking the Rhine River some 23 years ago in the nation formerly known as West Germany.

We both have our stories. One day in the not too distant future, say another 23 years, she may sit with a future generation Little B and regale him or her with tales of earthquakes and dining on fresh Octopus in the Far East.

In the meantime, we both have our momentos, and money we can no longer spend. Both are worth every penny.

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“This feels like a dream; like I woke up and had never gone anywhere”.

She came home today. So did dozens of other students who’d been traveling the world of late. Some in Europe, others in the Far East, each now adjusting to their new normal back in the U.S.

New normals include the little things, like driving on the right side of the road, the English language all around you, and a shocking departure from accustomed culture. New normals also mean the small group with which you’ve shared your life over recent months won’t be together again, at least not in the same way.

Only hours after getting off the plane, reunions with friends were already underway. As “Little Frauline-Sahn” was not ready to drive anywhere other than the left side of the road, I gave her a quick shuttle over to where the gang was assembling.

On my way home, the 80’s Aldo Nova tune “Fantasy” was playing on the old
guy radio station. Portions of the lyrics were eerily relevant to the moment:

City Nights
Summer breeze makes you feel alright
Neon-lights
Shining brightly make you brain ignite…

…See the men pain their faces and cry
Like some girl, it makes you wonder why

City life
Sure is cool, but it cuts like a knife, it’s your life
So forget all that you see
It’s not reality, it’s just a fantasy
Can’t you see what this crazy life is doing to me

Life is just a fantasy, can you live this fantasy life

In actuality, life is not just a fantasy, even though it passes by quickly.

Now, Alboy ever growing to be that tall? That is a fantasy, most likely. Maybe he’s the one who’s been dreaming…

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Our daughters, “all three of them”, moved back into their college dormitory today.    Hannah, Natsumi, and Rina packed their bags and headed out for the long one mile drive in the blowing snow back to the Oklahoma Christian University campus.   

Hannah has been a part of our lives for almost 19 years now.   Natsumi and Rina, not so long.   It seems that these nice young ladies from Japan have been claimed by the Binghams, and vice versa, for about 3 weeks now.    Last night’s Facebook newsfeed status entry by one of them said it all: “I love my new American family; I don’t want to leave!”.     There could be no greater compliment.   We shared food, fun, our faith, and the fellowship of the Christmas holiday season.    As the girls all loaded up in the car today to drive away, these two new daughters both hugged me and said “goodbye, Daddy”.

As the girls drove away today, I wondered “how could a short three weeks mean so much to us, or to them?”.

It reminded me of another day and time, a not so long 22 years ago, when I completed a three week stay with a lovely family, and as the father hastily helped me put my bags on a West German train, he quickly hugged me and said “Good-bye”.   As we speed away that day, I wondered if I would ever see them again, Manfred, Ingrid, grossmuder Heidi, daughter Iris, and their young son, Christian.    Thankfully, I got to do just that a year or so ago while travelling for work.    But as the years have passed, I never forgot that time or that family, almost every day of it holding some detail or fine nuance memory of my time with a German family.     The food, the fun, the faith, and knowing we were all children of a loving God.    I felt just as at home and comfortable 22 years later, seeing them again for the first time in a long time.    

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When you are inserted into a family setting, everything changes, especially when you are made to feel at home and a part of the family when the culture is so foreign to you.    I guess that’s what happened with our girls, as well.     They were a joy to have with us in the home.   We shared some of our culture, and they shared some of theirs, cooking us dinner one night – Niku jaga ga (meat and potatoes): cho oishii (so yummy!).

These new friends are special, but that is true of the blessing of friendship and family for us all.    God’s blessings are amazing.     While we hope and believe 22 years will not separate the Binghams from our new friends and family, I’m quite confident that even if it did, an amazing reunion would await, whether here, or on the other side of the world.     “Whether foreign land, or neighbors, everyone’s the same.    Searching for the answers that lie within Your name”.

 I Thessalonians 2:19-20:  For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?  Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

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