Monday, February 27, 2012


We're moving. {gulp}  We've lived here almost five years.  They warned us when we arrived, "Take advantage of your time here in Europe -- it goes fast."

We took their advice.  We jumped in, our ragamuffin troop, exploring from Brugge, Belgium to Krakow, Poland; from Vienna, Austria to Zadar, Croatia; from Dingle, Ireland to Faro, Portugal.  We rode camels in Tangier, Morocco and held orphans in Malawi, Africa. 

According to the "official papers" we'll leave Germany and head home by the end of June.  Spokane, Washington.  Place where our family doctor announced in the delivery room the day I gave birth to our last child, "Hey!  All four children, same hospital, same doctor... same dad!"  Place where my oldest child turned double digits and I cried because "I dreamed of my children experiencing life abroad.  What if they grew up thinking little Podunk Spokane is all there is in the world and they never learn what it means to love people in a multicultural context?"  I prayed, laying that dream on the altar, simultaneously asking God to show me how to find multicultural experiences in this town I loved... but... how my heart longed to see the world... to touch history... see the stories... expand our family's paradigms. 

In many, many ways Spokane is home for our family -- at least as far as roots.  We're going home to family: his parents, my parents, all our family at Life Center.  Although we'll be homeless when we arrive, we anticipate the adventure of finding a house.  Still.  We don't feel ready.  Truthfully, I'm not sure when, (or if), we'd ever feel ready to leave here.

Amidst a pause while sorting through boxes, I come across the container with old calendars.  The squares read, dinner with Kylan and Mara, 6 PM; coffee with Penny K., 2:00; Laurie's house, 5:30 AM; Dinner at Mark and Cheri's, 5 PM; Wordell's here for dinner, 6 PM; tea with Olana, 10:30 AM; Dinner with the Laxton Family, 5:30 PM; Double date with the Templeton's, 6 PM...   Nearly everyday is marked and I am taken back in time, to days filled with people.  Time with people.  All our favorites.  I am overwhelmed.  Grateful.  All these people have helped me grow, demonstrated leadership, laughed with me and cried with me, loved my children with me, poured into our marriage and family, believed in us, mentored us, loved us unconditionally...

I stopped keeping calendars when we moved to Europe.  Eli asked me why.  "I guess we suddenly didn't have anywhere to be or anything to schedule."  I answered him slowly, repeating the question to myself.  These last four years... like a sort of pause... an extended field trip...

It's in this pause, me sitting on the floor with my legs criss-crossed, walls of boxes around me, piles of memorabilia next to me, that I am reminded of the abundance in my life.  Incredible how typing that word abundance doesn't seem to quite express it -- that to say we live a life of abundance seems a colossal understatement.  I continue to peruse the pages, taking up the next year, and the next, and I have to wonder, do these people we love -- do they know we love them?  Do they know the depth of our gratitude for their friendship?  And then all this thinking and wondering and reminiscing...  Suddenly, I long to be with these people.   To do life with them again.  To adventure, tackle challenges, laugh, pray... and eat... together.  

153. For Christ's atonement... and how because of Him wanting to spend eternity with us, we can spend eternity with one another.

154. How Zae plants a feather-light kiss on my right cheek, left cheek, right cheek the way the French do and says, "That's because we know each other well."

155. And how my children have had the opportunity to learn different customs and traditions from so many different cultures.

156. The way Zae announced his plan to write an acronym for GRACE this morning, his thoughtfully coming up with a word for each letter, hesitating only slightly with each letter until he got to "E" where he exclaimed, "E is for enough!  Because His grace is always enough!"

157. How as the afternoon wore on, Zae declared, "Phew!  It's almost time for Dad to come home.  Everything is always better when Dad's home.  He just refreshes everybody."

158. For incredible, intimate, messy, grace-filled friendships around the globe.

159. The awe-filled realization that God took my dream of living abroad and miraculously made it into something far more wonderful and amazing than I could ever have come up with on my own.

160. Eli's counting up the countries visited and coming up with 21.  21!

161. The humility that comes from acknowledging that we lack absolutely nothing -- the gift of enough.

 *Photos of one of my most favorite pictures -- the one hanging in our kitchen nook where I've shared plenty a cup of tea and deep conversation with friends.  The cross stitch that one of my dearest friends, Karla G., made for me and gave to me as a gift.

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to being on your calendar again. ;)