May 10, 2012

This Magic Moment

This past Monday was a night I will never forget.

It was a great and amazing experience for everyone in the gym, but for me it was like having the different pieces of my world come together in perfect harmony.

The best way to put it is this: our Tabourot gym in La Rochette had 29 Americans in the same time.

Get excited!
It wasn't at all about having "my people" with me. It was exactly about being able to show both sides of the story of my life in one glorious celebration of volleyball.

The Florida Southern College team tour came through the company I play for, Bring It Promotions, and we all worked together to create this successful evening.

I didn't spend a ton of time with the FSC team, but it didn't matter; once you've really given your heart to collegiate volleyball, you know and understand everyone because you are kindred spirits. They were friendly, happy, and played hard on the court. Their energy, communication/volume, speed, and athleticism was so exciting to be a part of again, but it was more important that my La Rochette team was there to witness an excellent example of the intensity of American university volleyball.

Some of my teammates with their new favorite uniforms!
Two other lovely "American" things happened: a) the team prayed before the match, which prompted questions from my teammates, and b) the team also gave my teammates their pink uniforms (breast cancer awareness jerseys). I am so thankful the FSC team displayed such positive traits and continued to triumph over negative American stereotypes.

On the flip side, my club went above and beyond their already unbelievable levels of hospitality to give the American team a true taste of real France (not the touristy version you can find in Paris, for instance). Everyone was kind, polite, and sincere; and we had a great turnout for the match. Two of my Benjamines (13-year-old girls) came through on my invitation, and everyone wanted to see more Americans. After the match, my club and teammates put together a wonderful post-game meal, and we were able to sit and chat a little bit longer, enjoying the life in France together.

And then to tie everything into its best place, the scrimmage was on a night that Marc's Simpson guys could come and watch. It was really meant a lot to me that they even wanted to come, and even better that they enjoyed the match and could see what had really prompted our decision to move to Europe last year. This group in particular has always been super supportive and it was a very fun experience to play for our American boys.

The Simpson World Serve "Amplify" Basketball Team...enjoying volleyball.
Monday brought three great times in my life together for one fabulous night: playing college volleyball, working at Simpson, and now living and playing in France. It was a testament to our adjustment to living overseas, and also to the willingness of everyone to bridge the gap between our differences.

Thank you, Florida Southern, for a great night!
There was an overwhelming amount of so many good things: grace, appreciation, joy, kindness, generosity, understanding - and every person gave these things openly and without pretension. I am still blown away by how just those few hours together were so flawless and beautiful.

In conclusion, God has blessed us beyond measure and we are grateful and humbled to live in such an extraordinary world. How incredible it is to have best friends from all over the earth!

"Freely you have received; freely give."
Matthew 10:8b