Once visas were in and Jeff was with us again I had time to reflect on the last month. I realized again how grateful I am for my parents and sister. I am the youngest of three, so I grew up very aware of just how much they helped usher me through life's tougher moments. My sister ate my peas, told me about life, and helped me match my socks. She still is the calm I may never grow into. My mom was and still is a bundle of life and joy. She taught me to pray for joy as my strength, not a happy heart, but a rich joy from being rooted in God's love. She could run a small country and will talk to anyone. My dad help formed some of my earliest memories of the God who made me. A wild, untamed God, full of love and mercy and forgiveness. He taught me not to be afraid of people's mess. To not be afraid of my mess. They made life easy to live out, to grow up into. All the fearful awkwardness of it. I know that is a gift many do not get.
And so when we said goodbye this time there were less tears. They have always been excited for our chance to live out our calling, whether in Culpeper, VA or Wormit, Scotland. We said goodbye to my dad while he was still in the hospital. Fluid retention around the gut was slow to come off kept him in longer than any of us hoped. The boys and I sat on the edge of his bed and prayed for him and then he prayed a blessing over us, releasing us back to Scotland. I called from the airport during our layover to see if the liver test came out okay. I stared out into the night as we flew further away and I put a shaky heart in God's hands. Even if you know you have held a rare gift for so long, it still does not make it easier to lay down. Material things are easy to let go of, but handing over the ones we love feels a little trickier. Do I trust the God who knit my father's heart together? Yes. Does my heart ache in the goodbyes and the not knowing? Yes, in a messy, heavy way, that doesn't make it all feel okay.
We landed feeling as if we came home. We drove through our town and parked the car and ran in yelling "We are HOME." And it feels so right and great to be back. We all feel it. The clicking into place of something good and real. Wormit, Scotland is exactly where we are suppose to be. We ran to the bay and stayed up way too late as the tide rolled in. Today we went to the church's soup lunch and said hello again to many of the people we have met on our trips to the bay. I took some soup home to deliver to my neighbor who I had heard was ill while we were away. Knocking on his door, I saw him struggle to get up and open the door. I sat nervously, knowing I was already acting completely American visiting so soon after getting back and while he was ill. He told me he was in the hospital for two and a half weeks. Almost the whole time we were away. He was in because he had fluid on his gut and legs and it was slow to come off. I listened as he shared how hard it was to be away and wait to come home. And I shared with him about my dad an ocean away walking out the same hard lesson. Our lives are in His hands, and His hands alone. Every chapter. We both were amazed at the similarities to how much fluid they are allowed to drink a day to the different medicines they have been on. I left with a lighter heart. To trust that God has the exactly the right people to shape and change us into His image. To show us how to be His hands and feet to the world around us.
We ended our day with a trip to Tentsmuir Forest. The boys got soaked in the North Sea, smiling and shivering. We remembered all the beach trips with Mimi and Papa and cousins, toes all digging in the sand. Luke asked if I thought Papa would get to see all this. How beautiful it all is. Get to feel how much this is our home too. I answered what I hoped but didn't know. We got home sandy and wet and to an e-mail that he is finally home from the hospital. How sweet it was to read those words. On the way to church tomorrow, I will knock on my neighbor's door to tell him an answer to prayers that included his. They both will sleep in their own beds tonight, an ocean away but with the same grateful hearts.
Please pray for my parents as they plan a trip to come out to see us for Christmas. He is released to come if he is able. We are praying that he will get to see this land we call home and meet all the people who have opened their hearts and homes to us.
We begin work again on Wednesday, working with the youth of Wormit and NE Fife. School here begins August 20th and the boys are ready!
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34&35 ESV