Passing the baton

By Natalia Hatton | Blog

Nov 01

Sometimes it is the fleeting encounters that can leave a great impact, so don’t ever underestimate yourself in the way you do life.  Let me share one such story.

I had the privilege of being at a course my Dad was attending as the glorified babysitter.  Only there was just one baby and her mum was tending to her.  This meant I was superfluous to requirement and thought I was in for a long and boring day.  Instead it was anything but that.  I got to chat with this lady and cuddle her baby while everyone else was in learning.  Then at lunch I sat at a table with her, her man and some others.  You could be excused for thinking nothing very remarkable happened.  But it was in the simple gestures they made to one another, the emotion displayed in their eyes to one another, the interest they took in a scrawny teenager that spoke louder than others.  It was a snapshot of what marriage looked like, and making others matter.

Months on with yet another move my parents and I were rocking up to another church where we were to plant roots.  My lucky sister was at uni and not having to be the follower anymore.  Anyway, Mum and I sat in the back as we were once again early for Dad to connect with the pastor and be ready for speaking that night.  The husband from the lunch table rocked up with a swarm of guys from the youth group and introduced themselves.  He was the youth pastor at this church and I was immediately put at ease.  Till the swarm became a bit overwhelming and he picked up on it and got them to retreat.  I recall noting Brett at the back of the swarm, also aware and considerate.  Instantly I was a fan of his, but I had no clue at just what would unfold between me and this guy.

The young family I’d encountered at the course and now at this youth group were just wrapping up their time in New Zealand and heading back home to the States.  But that month carried on much like that day in Melbourne.  The simple exchanges had a great impact of what it looked like to love one another, to invest into the lives of others, to be aware and display great character.  So when it came to Brett and I progressing beyond the friend zone, and four years later into the marriage zone their mark could be seen.

Fast forward to 2010 when I was at rock bottom and my faith was holding by a thread as I sat in the recurrent miscarriage clinic and the counsellor prompted me to reflect on a Christian couple who’d been a great influence, who I trusted and admired enough to reach out to in this moment, it was them who came to mind.  Thanks to being on good old Facebook in those days we’d already reconnected over screens and status updates.  Even saw them for dinner when we were in the States and their area for my 30th.  It sure made it easier to reach out in this moment, but instead of having all the answers handed to me on a silver platter as I wanted, John pointed me to the Word of God.  Floundering in that I tried to navigate the following months as best I could, yet further on I’d realise that was the best advice and gift that could have been offered.  When back in the States for Brett’s 30th and again letting them know we were in the area if they wanted to hang we found ourselves in their family van headed to the Grand Canyon.  As we did the road trip I was talking to Angela and she pointed me to a global in-depth bible study which really began to unfold the healing and restoration and adventure.

The impact first made in ’97 now deepened in the ’09-’11 timeframe.  Come ’15 they were in NZ, a dream they’d had to bring their now grown up girl to see the country she was born in and enjoy it with their two ‘kids’ and reconnect with people from their early years.  In that few weeks they were out we had the privilege of them staying a couple nights.  And to be honest the interactions with their grown girl were fun, but simple and ordinary.  We carried on life like normal and I wouldn’t say anything profound or out of the ordinary unfolded.  Plus she had her nose in a book so much I wouldn’t have thought she would have noticed anything out of the ordinary if there were.   Even in our time with them this past Christmas and getting to meet her boyfriend it was just a bunch of great friends enjoying and sharing life together.

Yet now that Rachel is engaged and we have the privilege of being at the wedding before long, I hear that an impact was made and that just as her parents left imprints on us, we have somehow on her.  While that has me absolutely humbled, and feeling slightly older than I realised, it has sat with me.  As I wrote an engagement card for them and added in a letter from me to her I couldn’t help but reflect on the need for generation to generation to pass the baton.

Getting to see people do ordinary life, their day to day interactions, their hearts in the ups and downs is important and makes more of a ripple affect than realised.  We need to love well, we need to live well, we need to invest more.  In a world that is so broken there needs to be more individuals, couples and families to point out the great simplicity life has to offer.

Has someone left an imprint on you? Thank them for it and remind them it matters.

Have you underestimated the ripple affect you can and do have on others?  Ask God to help you keep on keeping on cos the smallest thing to you may just have the biggest imprint on another.  And who knows maybe one day God will give you a glimpse at just how you were used, how it created a flow on affect and the good that came of it.  I’m sure John and Angela had no idea that at a lunch table in Melbourne their simple yet powerful interactions would matter so much.

About the Author

Natalia has bravely written two books that show a road not often talked about … infertility. She is real and vulnerable in it. Yet you see how God can turn broken pieces of her life into something beautiful, where deep faith and rich growth are seen.

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