Plane Coffee Mom

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Tag: quiet

Ideal Friday evening

It’s quiet right now, an ideal Friday evening. We’re reading and writing, chatting a little about life between the silences, and simply being.  It’s strange how seldom this happens. Life is busy. We’re running, we’re doing, we’re busy. We have people over and we go out. We are involved and engaged.

And then suddenly, quiet. We value this because we’ve learned the hard way that we need it. All four of us. Parents, grown son, and nearly grown son. We have lived many different ways and survived deep changes. The process has been amazing and beautiful, terrible and painful.

Some of my best family memories are  of  a Sunday morning spent listening to songs chosen by our sons, sometimes crazy songs with round-about lyrics and sometimes straightforward worship music. Terere, a Paraguayan ritual we’d carried with us to Philippines, made its way around our small circle as we sat together. We discussed the music. After a while we’d turn on a podcast we were interested in. When it finished we’d chat about what we’d heard and the week just passed. There was wood carving and drawing and painting in the circle. For a while friends joined our circle and we enjoyed the quiet together.  About the only thing we tried to keep outside the circle was hurry, though it sometimes crept in also.

Sometimes we planned a day of rest only to interrupted by an emergency. Sometimes we’d get a text, or turn on the radio at noon, and find our plans meaningless in the face of urgent need. Each of us had our job in those times– food, overnight bag, phone calls, and weather checks were the norm as we went methodically about the business of doing our best to get Garry out the door to do a medical flight or an evacuation. Our plans were soon forgotten in the rush and noise of interruption. The radio always crackled in the background during those times, its static somehow friendly because we knew it was what allowed us to stay in touch.

There were times we survived too long without quiet, getting by on too little sleep and driven by seemingly endless needs. Conversations and tempers both got shorter. We questioned one another’s motives and wished for more hours in a day and more energy in our bodies. Non-essentials were left undone and efficiency became king. If we didn’t choose to stop, it was chosen for us. Paperwork, sickness, or unavoidable obstacles would put us out of commission and we’d find it was a good place to regroup and get back to basics.

As I sit here writing I ponder the path that has brought us here and I am deeply grateful. I’m thankful we value this, and I’m thankful we do it. And I’m just a bit surprised still at how ideal this evening feels.

The Christmas Move

I didn’t want to move. Not even a little bit. I was rather happily settled into a comfortable house in a comfortable neighborhood with a stable routine. Things could have just continued as they were. Then there was a windstorm followed by a tree removal. This led to a conversation which made it clear that things were going to change. Immigration issues came to light. Financial concerns got bigger. Employment realities changed.

The house we were in was going on the market. We cleaned up the house and people came to work on it and photograph it and soon people were coming to look at it. No more stable routine. The house was on display and the comfortable status was disappearing. An e-mail assured us we were moving. Only there was, as yet, nowhere to go.

We prayed about immigration and finances. A committed team joined us in seeking God and answers. Friends called to let us know they were going to help cover rental costs if we stayed. Anonymous friends left a cash gift in our mailbox. Someone offered to cover immigration costs and the lawyer assured us the process could move ahead. A check came in the mail. Friends intentionally overpaid for things they bought from us. The whole process was unheard of– we are missionaries on support, and support comes through expected channels. But this was totally unexpected! One by one, the questions we had were being answered, the only outstanding one being somewhere to live.

We took a second look at a house on a Wednesday, got keys on Thursday, and started moving furniture on Friday as we began packing up smaller things. Sunday the pastor mentioned that they were late getting their Christmas preparations under way, and I realized I hadn’t even thought about Christmas. Yet the season was over-shadowed by the move, and we told people we could use some help. We were amazed at the people who showed up with willing hearts, cleaning supplies, and vehicles. Exactly one week after we’d taken a look at the house, all our things were moved to our new house and the old house was cleaned. We breathed a huge sigh of relief, though there was still a large pile of things to move out of the old garage. Soon that also was done and we settled into serious unpacking.

By now Christmas was seriously upon us, just 4 days away. Garry hung two strings of lights, we spent a fun evening chasing down a few gift ideas we’d had for our sons, and then wrapped a few presents. The amazing thing was, Christmas still came. Regardless of how prepared we were or were not, Christmas arrived on schedule, December 25th.

And the reality is, we had an amazing celebration of Jesus. We were amazed at what God had done in getting us moved. We enjoyed family. We relaxed in our new house and were thankful to be warm and comfortable. We made new memories. We enjoyed family times in the new-to-us living room. We ate meals at our dining room table and gave thanks for food and togetherness. We started a puzzle and began organizing photos to scrapbook.

Given other options, I still wouldn’t choose to move over Christmas. But sometimes, the things we wouldn’t choose are the best gifts we could get.

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