I have said goodbye to my children twice this week. Oh the aching pain of separation and the transition from a full house to an empty one once again. The kids were to fly back to Cameroon on Sunday afternoon after their fall break. It is so exciting to pick them up at the airport and embrace them knowing that there are days ahead to be filled with being in the same space together, five places set at the dinner table! We can catch up with latest, in person. I can hear my oldest's ever deepening voice. I can behold my daughter's laughter with her beautiful eyes shinning. My last born still curls into me as we embrace. I hold the familiar shapes and sounds of our family together close.
But, alas, they must return to school, and depart us once more. So we made the trip to the airport, said our tearful goodbyes, prayed together and went our separate ways. Only to be called hours later. The plane had a maintenance issue and the flight was canceled. We joyfully picked the kids up again and their stay was extended by a couple of days. It was great to have them home! However, Tuesday came and we took them to the airport again. Two goodbyes in one week. Emotionally exhausting.
I've been challenging myself to find the eucharisteo "thanksgiving" in the everyday. To pray prayers of thanksgiving by actually writing out lists of things I am thankful for. I've been reading the Bible in a very focused way and have found it to be transformative. It is not easy though. It's hard to be thankful for sending our kids away on a plane; to live a life separate from us in the everyday. It's easy to question and complain. I miss my kids on a profound level and being catapulted into an "empty nest" before being ready is jarring. But I am learning the unforced rhythms of grace. In Matthew 11:28-30 it says ( The Message version) "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Sounds great, but how? I am still feeling my way through. I am asking God to burn off the cataracts of my soul. Eucharisteo is coming into focus, clearing my cloudy vision as the sludge of selfish ambition is melting away in the heat of God's word. "I am beset by soul amnesia. I empty of truth and need the refilling. I need come again every day -- bend, clutch, and remember -- for who can gather the manna but once, hoarding, and store away sustenance in the mind for all of the living?" - Ann Voskamp
I am gathering the manna words of God everyday. I am asking God to sustain me. My children or my job or my friends or my husband or the material things I have cannot and should not sustain me. "How I want to see the weight of glory break my thick scales, the weight of glory smash the chains of desperate materialism, split the numbing shell of deadening entertainment, bust up the ice of catatonic hearts." The lament of Ann Voskamp echoes my own prayer, although she says it lyrically. I cry out with a burning ache to live a life that is vibrantly alive. His Kingdom come, His will be done.