I keep coming to this space. And I keep leaving it blank. Hashtag sorrynotsorry.
I am practicing the waiting. The not sharing. Protecting. Discerning. Storing up all sorts of sparkling things in my soul and just hangin' out with them for a little while, or for a long while, trying not to frame every little piece into a sound byte or editing moments as they are happening. I wait, sometimes for what seems like ever and ever, until each rowdy piece of reflected light is ready for release back into the wild. Once free, those crazy sprites can be difficult to catch all spinning dizzy and stirring up prisms.
How do you wrap words around a whirlwind?
I stand at the center, hair whipping wild in the long-awaited gust of a new heading, and every word I release is swallowed up and whisked off beyond my reach. Swirling and howling and blustering and whispering. The force strong enough to knock me over and yet also sweetly balanced and mightily steadying. I stretch my arms out and close my eyes that I might just feel it. The wind. The way it rushes fast over my skin. The way it pries open my clenched fists and surges between my fingers leaving me palms up releasing any control I once thought I wanted. The way it fills my lungs with its power and takes my breath away in the same flick of a moment. I cannot help but spin and twirl. My chin cannot help but lift. Bending and swaying, must be those well-watered roots and palm tree posture that make a crazy storm look a lot like dancing. An island sprig found thriving in desert spaces, I am swept up into the fury.
"...some moment happens in your life
that you say yes
right up to the roots of your hair,
that makes it worth having been born
just to have happen.
Laughing with somebody
till the tears run down your cheeks,
waking up to the first snow,
being in bed with somebody you love...
Whether you thank God for such a moment
or thank your lucky stars,
it is a moment that is trying to
open up your whole life.
If you turn your back on such a moment
and hurry along to business as usual,
it may lose you the ball game.
If you throw your arms around such a moment
and hug it like crazy,
it may save your soul."
I've been expecting this breezy old friend for such a long while - this rush of life bearing new longitudes and latitudes . We've sensed the momentum from such a long way off the way a waterman reads swells and currents and we've been preparing ourselves for the ride. So. Much. Waiting. Well, the ride has arrived. Our next step has shown itself. It's happening.
We are moving to SE Asia!
At this time last month Eric was in SE Asia as I sat in a hospital waiting room here while our daughter underwent surgery. Three days earlier, a simple missed landing on our backyard trampoline landed her on an x-ray table with a fractured ankle. Two days later our orthopedic surgeon determined her injury to be much more significant than we were originally told and he immediately scheduled surgery for the following morning. At the exact time I was scheduled to fly out to join Eric.
Sometimes the moment makes the decision for you.
He wanted to come home. I wanted him to stay put. I was in the zone here caring for our girl and the stories coming out of his work in SE Asia had me convinced he was in the zone over there caring about a whole bunch of other parents' girls. He needed to stay. I needed him to stay. I needed him to finish the work we set out to do, to take this next step, to ride the momentum building over those few weeks of insane fundraising as well as the past seven years since we'd first opened our eyes to the reality of child sex-slavery. Our sails were filled full and we were cruising too strong to pull off course now. The same rush of wind keeping him going night after night of gathering evidence of human trafficking, staring into eyes long since vacant of hope and still others completely void of humanity, would be the same force keeping me going in the triage unit that had become our family room with one child post-op and the other violently ill for the second time in one month. Our tribe alongside me, a new tribe alongside him. Our resolve anchored deep.
My sun would be setting as his sun was rising and so we see-sawed our way through the two week adventure just like that. Calls and texts and Facetime chats on opposite ends of our days kept me tuned in to the field work he was experiencing and kept him connected to the progress we were making here at home. It wasn't until we saw him coming down the escalator at the airport that the waves began to hit me. It's over. I really didn't go. I just missed the entire thing. My entire heart was engaged in the care of our kids as our plans got rerouted, but my entire heart had also been set on the plan to be side-by-side with my husband in this giant next step toward our work against trafficking.
The weeks following the trip have been filled with Eric's stories becoming my stories, his people becoming my people. A steady stream of both dark tellings of the intensity of the trenches and hilarious antics from team members turned brothers and sisters wove through our every conversation. Even my birthday dinner night out had us tearing up over the vacant eyes of little girls dead inside from the horrors of their lives one minute and then belly laughing in the street drawing stares from balconies and smiles from cafe patios as we cackled about his teammates most embarrassing moments stories shared over their downtime cappuccinos and fieldwork debriefing. The stories have shaped me from a distance and invited me in. I keep forgetting I wasn't actually there. But really, I was. That's just how we roll. Eric and I take each other along wherever we go, whether in body or in spirit. See, the dangerous nature of taking Jesus seriously doesn't automatically take us to the darkest corners of humanity, but it does ALWAYS take us outside of ourselves and face to face with fear, daring us to release our death grip on control and comfort, inviting us further beyond ourselves than we ever dreamed possible.
For us, that invitation is to SE Asia.
Friends. You know how long we've been waiting, praying and expecting this. This next adventure has been years in the making, ages in the dreaming, so I'm kinda bursting with fruit flavor over here. And yes, it's about the work and the wild ride, but really it's about this ---> God built us for this, grew us toward each other while growing us toward this, stirred our hearts for this and then made a way for us. We dug our heels in and waited for His way above our way and He did it. He actually did it. Immeasurably more than we could have asked for or imagined. He took the verse I admittedly roll my eyes at every single time I read it or hear it (Ephesians 3:20), the verse that makes me go, "really? immeasurably more than I could ask for or imagine? really? because i can imagine some pretty rad stuff", the verse I doubt but secretly hope is true because my heart was designed for a great wandering; He carved that verse on the palm of His hand, slammed it up against the window of my soul and said "How do you like them apples!" in His best Southie accent. I love it when God goes all Good Will Hunting on us.
We finally have our next heading and are charting our course. Holding the logistics loosely, waiting to see how our timeframe takes shape, but breathing deep knowing we are quite ready for another adventure.