That rare moment when the universe perfectly aligns and I get to watch the sunrise… alone. Never did I think I would yearn so desperately for time alone. The introvert that’s 55% of me chaffs against the constant crowd of the world we live in, and the only moments where I experience such serene solitude is at dawn, before most of this mountain is awake.
Yesterday I took the second of three tests at our language school. It took three and a half hours and I could have gone longer but I was the last one left in the building. After several years of speaking this language, and now seven months of study, I finished with a hurting brain and a reminder of how very much I have to learn. I walked home down the steep hill with Baby Wiggles tumbling around in my bump (she leans to the right so I’m always trying to keep my balance on hills).
I felt somewhat defeated. All the effort into study and practice and I probably barely passed that test.
In a few short weeks Little Man and I will head west in preparation for Baby Wiggles to come. A month later Tyler will come and we’ll spend 12 weeks in our home culture before returning as a family of four. We considered our options when planning this baby’s arrival, including Thailand, a bigger city here, or even the local hospital in this mountain town. In the end we decided the best way for us to have community support the couple months surrounding the birth was to return and stay with family for this brief season. We are so grateful to be able to do this. And after a number of culturally- enlightening experiences with my prenatal care, I’m thankful to deliver the baby in an environment that I’m familiar with. It will be sufficiently stretching to bring an 8-week-old back to Mountain Town, so I’m glad for some time to prepare.
And so our life seems in constant upheaval. Constant leaving. Coming. Adjusting.
Packing and unpacking. Settling and unsettling. Opening up and saying farewell. And with more and more friends in far away places the best we can do is write a long heartfelt email and talk of when we’ll meet again. At the next retreat, in three years, in six months…
My husband likes to say, “Gathered for a season. Scattered for a lifetime.”
The challenge is to keep our hearts’ open and fight to stay connected when we tire of the sting of separation. It is worth it. And I’m blessed to have such real, sweet friendships scattered across continents. But oh, how I tire of change.
As we prepare for this several-month transition I try to keep my head above water with the need to pack, store, plan who will stay in our flat and where we will live upon our return. I try to think of who to visit before we leave and who to give extra things to—to bless and to lighten our load.
We currently keep all three of our clothing in two cupboard. It’s too much. We need to simplify. If we’re going to do this life of transition well we need a lighter load.
Last night I stayed up after Big Man and Little Man were fast asleep. I asked the Prince of Peace to see me through another transition with supernatural calm. I asked for peace about our separation from one another, our travel, Baby Wiggles’ arrival, over friendships, our housing situation, our packing and unpacking.
And today there is peace. The sun is shining and making the century-old red and white buildings sparkle on the hillside.
I know that I can walk in this peace, and there will be enough for the weeks to come.