Monday, June 16, 2008

Operator, please connect me.........

I was thinking today about all the folks out there that I consider friends because we read and comment on each other's blogs and how I feel supported in good thoughts and prayers and whatever good will is available. I treasure the way we laugh and cry and follow each other's lives through posts and pictures and I treasure the things we teach one another--a recipe, a book review, a knitting pattern or how the bird migration is coming along. I especially love the way we are all over the place--different cities, different states, different countries, different continents.

And it reminded me of a story..............

I'm afraid that I may get some details wrong and ask that if anyone knows more about this than I do, please correct my factual errors.

In August, 1990, Iraqi troops moved into Kuwait and many of the Americans then in Kuwait were taken hostage in the American Embassy in Kuwait City. Among the Americans was a Southern Baptist Missionary named Maurice Graham and his wife and two sons. The Iraqi's released the women and children within a month or so but held onto the men .

At the time we lived in Tennessee and were members of a large Southern Baptist church which had an empty home available for the missionary family. The wife and two boys moved into the home and our church set about making them as comfortable as possible. Theirs was an experience that would be impossible to imagine for any one who didn't live through it and one of the things that our church did well was insulate the family and protect their privacy while they waited for their husband and father to be released.

I do remember one story, though, that came out during a women's meeting. The missionary wife had to make some arrangements with the telephone company that resulted in her talking with someone in an office many states away from ours. At the point in the conversation where the telephone operator asked for the name on the account, the missionary said her husband's name, Maurice Graham. The operator stopped her business-like questioning and said "Is that the Maurice Graham that we have been praying for?"

This was before normal folks had the internet but the prayer chain had spread wide and a telephone operator in another state recognized a name and a need.

I guess that's kind of what I was thinking about today, the internet helps us get thoughts and needs out to so many people--I can imagine somehow we who share each other's hopes, dreams, accomplishments and sorrows on the internet are really connected in a sort of spiritual sense.

When I was googling information and trying to remember dates and names, I found an incredible story from the December 24, 2007 Boston Globe about Aaron Graham, who at the time I knew them was the 10 year old son of Maurice Graham. This article is well worth the time to read.

13 comments:

beth said...

Beth, if this is the same Maurice Graham, he is currently serving as a very wise counselor and instructor in the Richmond area. I have heard him speak and had lunch with him - what an amazing privilege! Yet I had no knowledge of this backstory, if, indeed, it is the same man. I'm checking it out - but I'm fairly certain it is.

Small world. Thanks for sharing this!

beckie said...

Beth, I so agree about this world of virtual friends. It is real, real enough to feel the love and friendship come through. The prayers and well wishes and even the humor are there for us when we need it. I read the story about Aaron and was moved that a young man who had such personal tragedy in his life could make that kind of decision. I applaud his strength and his belief in his God. Thanks for giving us such an up lifting story. (well almost a story, I couldn't read the last page without subscribing! But figured out the ending from what you had said.

Beth said...

Beth, it may be the same man. The article said that Aaron was from Richmond. I remember him as a quiet, gentle person who would not have sought out the attention that came with his captivity and who suffered greatly because of the situation. The night the U.S. started bombing was a Wednesday night, he had been released and we were all at church for bible study. He was sitting in the pew just in front of me alone. We bowed our heads to pray and when I lifted my head and opened my eyes there were two big burly church members sitting on either side of him and in the front of the sanctuary, there was a TV news crew with camera and reporter. I was really moved by the way those men came and sat with him to keep the reporter from approaching him there.

Beth said...

Beckie, you are right and it was so fun to watch spring creep north through people's posts. I guess we'll watch autumn move south in a few months and I'll be among the first to report that rather than the last to report spring!

Jayne said...

We are really are connected in so many ways, aren't we? We are all just stumbling humans sharing our journeys and by our words, we reach out, connect, and touch one another in such special ways. I pray for all my "blog family" regularly and gain so much strength and support from everyone.

Such a great story about the Grahams Beth. :c)

The Texican said...

Very interesting and encouraging story Beth. I like the variety of people we meet here and the acceptance of new bloggers who find their way into the circle. I am amazed at the blossoming of some blogs as the writers interact with others around them.

KGMom said...

Technology (i.e. the Internet) has merely facilitated the human urge to connect. And I think it is wonderful--having virtual friends and sense of caring and connectedness can only be good for us.

bookbabie said...

Great story Beth, thanks for pointing the way:)

Kathiesbirds said...

Beth, it has been one of the joyous discoveries of blogging to find out how much people sincerely care out there across the world. I love all the new friends I have made and I count you as one of them. Thank you for writing your blog and thank you for visitng mine.

TheElementary said...

I read this post this evening and now I'm reading it again. It's beautiful.
"Is that the Maurice Graham that we have been praying for?" What an amazing thing to have happened as you said in a world without quick internet access. That's a very special story. I'm definitely sharing that with Mater, I know she'll love it. I enjoy stories not just about what a small world it is but about human kindness. It's very hard to find them, it seems. But this shows that people care and that the power of word-of-mouth is very strong and can in fact move mountains. And as you said like blogging brings people together, regardless of location, regardless of any boundary. It's wonderful.

mon@rch said...

I have made so many wonderful friends through my blog and I would consider you one for sure! Great post and thanks for sharing this with us!

Trixie said...

Technology is very good a facilitating what we always do, make human connections. Thanks for illuminating this.

Larry said...

It's especially nice if you move way out into the boondocks in a place like Maine.-You can stay connected-that's one of my seeling points to convince my wife to move out of Connecticut.-She's not buying it just yet.