A clear, wide horizon sits on the other side of our bay window. I can see the last sliver of sun peek behind a narrow strip of grey cloud. It streaks beyond, from one window to the next, glowing bright amber, to peach, then pink and pale. Straight ahead sits the top of a mountain; ok, tall hill, really. It’s a slate blue where more clouds rest, rising higher than their ribbon brothers, moving eastward towards the sea. All the sky above is blue and just one plane leaves its mark in chalky white contrails. This winter sky is so fresh and the only time, the only way I get a peek at that gentle slope of mountain is when the trees are bare. Dark and bare and waiting for spring. We still have a couple months left, till green buds come. So I get a couple more months of mountain, a couple more months of late afternoon sunsets, a couple more months of winter clouds eeking by my window.
One year ago today we shuffled three exhausted children and 18 suitcases through customs and past the sliding doors of arrivals. We were met by a gaggle of our new/old team, friends and peers and leaders, waiting for us with coffee and breakfast. They were good to not mind the wild ones, the blank stares, the just barely hidden fears and tears. We’d been gone so long, I felt. Two and a half years was just so long. Leaving after our first term was hard, brutal, painful. The waiting to return even more so. Resting and patience came only in the months and months of God gently calling us home. Not the home here, not the home there, but the home far away and above and past this blue-grey sky hovering overhead. I’m still thinking of this home even now. But now it’s just a part of living, of life with Him in the recesses of action and busyness, where doubt and wonderings and prayers are met. More wander than wonder, maybe.
I don’t know it all, haven’t arrived, not yet taken hold. Isn’t that what Paul says? That all this – in the growth and the waiting, the pruning and the shaping – He’s given and taught so much, and still we cling and grasp. Still we fumble and tear. Still we wait, forever wait, to be made strong, to be perfectly weak, and to take hold of Him like He took hold of us.
We had to take a homework break, just now. The onions from the soup were too pungent and stinging for young, watering eyes to remain in the kitchen. They gather at the telly in the sitting room and I sneak up to my room with a view to write. To remember. To ask, Jesus, don’t give up on me. Even with all You’ve already done, all we testify to in Your goodness and our path every which way around and towards You.
I know You won’t, but still I ask. Don’t give up. And don’t let me give up on You.
What’s your experience been with transitioning back to the field? Or to a new field?