Good Friends – II

Chris and Jane

Chris and Jane

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Meet Chris and Jane.  Chris and Jane are our very, very good friends.

They used to live in Cheyenne, and then moved to greener pastures in Wisconsin about 8 years ago.  When they lived here, we would do things with them pretty frequently. Things like having each other over for dinner, going to Mass together, sledding on New Years day in below zero weather.  It always seemed that we brought out the adventurous spirit in each other.

It has been said that you really get to know people when you travel with them, and boy did we travel with Chris and Jane.  Afterwards, we not only remained friends, but closer friends.

We share an interest in the social justice work of the Catholic Church, and in particular the work of an organization called Unbound.  This is a marvelous group that will be the sole subject of a post sometime in the future, but click on that link for now and find out more.

We both sponsor a number of individuals from countries on several continents.  Several years ago, we asked Chris and Jane to join us on a Mission Awareness trip to Guatemala.  This was not a trip that focused on Mayan ruins and beaches, but a trip to walk with the poor and to meet some of our sponsored friends.  Without hesitation, they agreed to it, and the adventures began.

We took a few more trips like that with them, too.  One was to Kenya, where we caught up with them in Nairobi a day before our Mission Awareness trip was to begin.  There we were in a country that took a really long time to get to (4 airports, 3 planes, 4 countries and 3 continents) and where we didn’t know anyone or how to get around.  What to do – consult a guidebook, find an outdoor railroad museum and hail a cab.  There we were, 4 really white people in the middle of East Africa, looking like tourists.  Yet, with faith that God was walking with us, we had no fear which might have kept us locked in our rooms.

We fed off of each other in terms of seeking out things that weren’t always the most comfortable, or the easiest.  We walked with the poorest of the poor and visited places that most Americans would avoid at all costs.  Traipsing around Central America and Africa together was an exercise in love and respect, and a lot of laughs.

Chris and Jane didn’t let their adventurous spirits wither and die on the vine, either.  Since our travels together, they have been to South America, India and Cuba.  Everywhere they go, they leave it a better place.

They have a beautiful home in Wisconsin, are active in their parish and help out a lot of people in their city as well.  However, they do it all very quietly, never drawing attention to themselves.  We know this because we have been there and seen it, plus we tell each other pretty much everything.

Chris is a Vietnam veteran, a Marine helicopter pilot.  He’s told us a few stories of his time there that are simply incredible.  Jane is a retired health care professional, and one of the most compassionate people I have ever met.  Both of them have a love for each other, for the poor, and for God that is beyond compare.

They were at a wedding in Colorado on New Year’s eve, which is what brought them to this part of the country.  They made their way to Cheyenne to join us for New Year’s Day lunch, which consisted of bratwurst, hamburgers and beans.  We haven’t seen them in a couple years, but from the moment they stepped inside our home, it was as though we just had coffee with them yesterday.

Good friends are few and far between, and we are so blessed to have some wonderful people in our lives. Chris and Jane have been dear to us for a long time, and we thank God for that blessing.  There is so much more to them than can be recounted in a space like this, and I wish everyone had a chance to have a Chris and Jane in their lives.

We wish they were closer than 1,000 miles, but that’s not the way it is supposed to be right now.  We will likely see them in July when we visit family and friends in Wisconsin, where we can pick up where we left off today.  That is, of course, unless they are tramping about in the middle of India. Or Ecuador. Or Guatemala.

God bless you both, Chris and Jane. The world, our world, is better because of you.


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