"There was immense bustle and excitement within the walls of de Lisle House when the lord and lady and all their followers got there. The squires and maids went running about with perfumed and steaming baths, the grooms and stablemen were busy watering and bedding the horses; the carters unloaded the goods they had carried over so many miles. ...Smoke rose from all the chimneys of the kitchen as preparations to feed this crowd of people mounted to their climax."
(From "Adam of the Road" by Elizabeth Janet Gray)
We arrived home today. No, it didn't go exactly quite so charming and purposeful as the author portrayed above. I have no idea where all the "squires and maids" or "perfumed and steaming baths" were. But we, the carters, did unload the goods we had carried over so many miles. And in the midst of it all, we did have a few charming moments. And the best part is that all the bags except for mine are unpacked. My goal is to have my bag unpacked by September first.
At the Malaga, Spain airport:
Waiting in line to board... a quarrel... offenses on two sides... raised voice... returned shouts... me juggling my hot, hot, hot coffee sans cup sleeve while implementing damage control. I look up to find the cute middle-aged couple behind us chuckling, whispering back and forth to one another. Me feeling defeated while catching my child's unrepentant spiteful gaze. ~long breath~ I just can't help myself, and so I ask the couple if they have children themselves.
Woman: No, no, we don't have any children. Why do you ask?
Me: ~long sigh~ Oh. I was wondering if you were relating... (pause, another long sigh)... or if you were making a mental note not to have any. (Which of course, I would have been tempted to break into a long-winded monologue about the poetry of children...)
Woman: (smiling beautifully now) Oh, I was noticing how kind and gentle you were speaking with your daughter [I did?] and how her older brother put his arm around her, patted her shoulder, and told her it was okay [he did?].
Me: (humbled, surprised, and... jubilant) Thank you!! (In the heat of the moment I noticed only my own self-centered adrenaline surging.)
And then as we pulled out from the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport in Germany:
Isaiah: Ahhh, it's good to be home isn't it, Mom?
Eli: It's been so long since we've been in the States, it doesn't really feel like home anymore.
Me: I know what you mean. But here doesn't necessarily feel like home either.
LeRoy: I think that's how God wants us to feel... Like we're not at home. At least not here on earth. Do you think?
Contemplation. We quietly made our way toward "home."
Pictures and stories to follow... hopefully sooner than later. Before I get that bag unpacked?