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Staying the course

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…I have become like a lonely bird on a housetop

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Psalm 102:7b

   The other day, as I was reading my Bible, the verse above captured my thoughts. I thought how aptly these words represent the state of my emotions at present.

   For about a year ago two daughters, with their families, took up residence about an 11 hours drive, in opposite directions, from my home.  Add that to a son and his family living on the other side of the world, and at times loneliness stalks me like  a hungry predator.

   I’m no super Christian! I’m just a mom who dearly loves her children, children in law, and grandchildren, who longs to have them close by. (We have such a store of blessed memories of times spent together when they were.) 

   Yet, I have come to the realization that I am going to have days like these. It’s unavoidable. Knowing that one daughter and her family remain near by, sustains me. And while that is an immeasurable blessing, verses like the following are what helps me stay the course.

   Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

   And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippines 4:19

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It’s Jan. 15th and we are preparing to put my husband on the plane to return to the States.  My son and I took him to the airport and we were able to watch him through the big glass windows that make up the outside walls of the terminal.  I watched him carefully as he checked in his bags and proceeded to the check in area for his ticket.  (this was only allowed because of the glass walls, for my son and I were not allowed to go inside the terminal)

Why was I watching him so carefully, you may ask?  Because in about 7 weeks, I would be doing the same thing,

ALL BY MYSELF!

I emphasize, all by myself, because I do not like traveling alone.  But the only way I could stay as long as was planned, was to return home by myself.   I’m telling you, I was not looking forward to that experience, in fact, I was dreading it.

The next few days was spent in the capital city area, preparing for the trip to where my son and his team members live.  I felt sort of like a 5th wheel without my husband.  (Actually, I felt like this the whole time I was there).  It was especially hard during those ‘hanging out’ times.  (Usually during such times you tend to gravitate towards those who are family or peers)  Sure, I had family and friends there, but no peers.  Taking care of and spending time with my grandson was a huge blessing.  It was good when I was able to spend time with my son, but that wasn’t practical much of the time.  He had a life and a family that trumped hanging out with mom, and I understood that.  Fortunately, over the past few years, God has been teaching me how to enjoy solitary time and for the most part this training proved to be very beneficial  to ward off those moments when I was tempted with loneliness.

The next few days was spent preparing for the 2 day journey to my son’s residence.   During that time two more families that would be serving on the team with my son arrived from America.  A young German couple joined us and with the addition of one more family from America, we finalized our preparations.

A lot of packing and restocking has to be done before we can load up and head back to home base.  You see, they can’t just make a run to the grocery store when they run out of groceries for that would be a 13 hour drive (longer during rainy season).  Due to the nightmarish roads, that 13 hour trip is usually extended into a 2 day trip.  So while in the capital city, my daughter-in-law buys everything she feels they will need over a 6 week period or for ever how long it will be before their next trip.  I am very impressed with my daughter-in-law’s organization skills.  She has created a spreadsheet of the items needed to stock their home then before heading out for the capital city, she’ll go through her shelves to see what they have and what they are low on.  The small town they live near fortunately has a market and many fruits and vegetables can be bought there.  She has become a skilled communicator at the market, confidently communicating what her needs are and negotiating a fair price for them.

These days were somewhat a little insecure for me.  My exact duties were as yet to be determined.  I’m one who feels insecure when things are vague (yes, I do acknowledge that for others this is when their creative juices begin to flow).  Alas, that was not the case for me.  But my life was saved (I know that sounds over dramatic but it was what it was) when I found out that arrangements had been made (rather suddenly) for a teacher friend of my son and daughter-in-law’s to come from America and yoke up with me in teaching the trainees children.

A few days after her arrival, the caravan set out and dodging, as best we could, the humongous potholes, stray ostriches, cattle & goats trying to share our road space, curious onlookers, (white people are an oddity in this land) not to mention daredevil chickens, we bumped along to our destination.

This is when I begin to notice a decided shift in definitions.  A gravel road, newly graded was exclaimed to be ‘smooth’.  I use the word ‘exclaimed’ for you should have heard the excitement in the voices of those who had traveled this road prior to the present grading.  (This never did register with me for in order to experience smooth according to this new definition I would have to forget my good ole American roads, even the ones in Arkansas, and they were too fresh on my mind for that transformation.)  I have one word to describe most of the roads I traveled while in Africa–nightmarish!  And that’s not an exaggeration!

Adios for now amigos!  (Until next post, that is!)

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