+[cheap taco night]+

For nearing a year now, Tuesday night has been cheap taco night. We drive down to a little place in town that has a cheap taco special on Tuesday nights. The tacos are average at best, have about a teaspoon of meat in them, but we all unabashedly love going. It's a memory, a weekly tradition, a connection.

We order 16 tacos and 4 drinks and settle in for the fabulous 80's playlist. True to me being me, I sing loudly to all the songs I rocked out to in high school. Doug joins in when he knows the words. We listened to different music back then. Did lots of things differently back then.

We tell the girls stories on cheap taco night. I think that's why they love it so much.

We talk of fun memories made to those songs on that playlist. We teach them the words and watch them gag on their food at some of them. We somehow forget that our salsa comes from little packets on cheap taco night; no one complains or reads labels.

Doug and I grew up across the street from one another. The county line divided our neighborhoods so we went to different schools in different districts. But we were just across the street for all those years - elementary to college.

My life went one way and his went another. Our paths never intersected, though I heard about him from my younger sister when he returned from college and became her youth pastor while he attended seminary. I heard about the counsel he gave her and the boys he spoke to (when needed) on her behalf. I heard the respect and resolve she had about this youth minister. But I never gave him a second thought...I'd never met him afterall.

Then my life made a round a bout and I found myself wanting to volunteer with young women, to invest somewhere other than in myself. I suddenly found myself across the desk from that youth minister...interviewing to volunteer in his youth group. He knew of me through my sister, he said. "He had grown up across the street from me, but we had never met."

Now we sit and have cheap tacos and tell our girls about two people who wanted to laugh and live with teenagers, to invest in their lives and walk alongside them. About two people who dreamed of nothing more than that kind of deep, intentional investment as a lifelong pursuit. They never tire of the story, ask for it over and over again. Want to hear what their dad bought at the convenience store on the corner where their mother played Ms. PacMan, and how the two never met. I think they try to picture it all going down, like they somehow have an imaginary chair next to God watching for just a moment.

Cheap tacos and good stories. That's our Tuesday night ritual.