Last night my daughter Megan watched the t.v. show "Lost"with two friends, one in Colorado and another in New York. Olivia, the one in Co. had never watched Lost before so Meg and another friend watched on their own laptops with her and group texted together. Oh the highs and lows of Lost! Our family started watching Lost when we moved to France for language study. Oh how we could relate to feeling lost in a new world filled challenges and a foreign landscape with "the others." I think it was some kind of bizarre coping skill we developed where once a week we would download Lost and have Lost lunches in our little apartment in Albertville. Lunch breaks are really long in France. It was a bit jarring coming from the states where everything is fast paced, especially meal time. We had 2 and 1/2 hour lunches everyday. All of us would meet at our apartment from our three different schools and I would make us lunch. It became an oasis of normalcy in the midst of great oddness.
Joe heads back to Chicago tomorrow. He is taking the train which he really has come to prefer over other modes of transport. He has taken cars, buses and planes as well but finds the train a great place to be "in between." Traveling by plane is so quick and at times jarring in transitioning from one place to another. There is great value in the "in between" I believe. He has time to reflect and plan and meet people. I find the rhythmic sway of a train to be romantic and dreamy. Watching the landscape roll by is peaceful and beautiful.
Last night after coming home from youth group, we gathered around the table to play cards. We played a game we learned in Gabon as new missionaries that was quickly dubbed, "missionary golf" since the object of the game is to finish with the least amount of points. You are golden if you finish in the negatives! So as we played we each shared our highs and lows of 2014. The kids are very used to sharing highs and lows as it was regular question around our dinner table when they were growing up. It's a great way to peak inside a day in the life of your kiddos and spouse. We hadn't shared daily highs and lows recently so I was thrilled to hear from each as we are spread out in different places more often than not.
The game wasn't one that needed a great deal of concentration so playing and talking were fairly effortless. Joe started us out with highs and we went around the table and repeated with the lows and ended with hopes and goals and dreams and prayers for 2015. Last year was a big year as it was Joe's first year in college and living in the states since he was 12 and the rest of our family was living in Cameroon. Megan had a big year in that she graduated from high school and started college and living in the states for the first time since she was 11. Sam had a big year as he has transitioned from living in a hostel with 11 other teens while attending a Rain Forest International school (around 95 students, 7-12 grade). He has moved to the States and started going to a large public high school, Dallastown, with 1,800 students.
As for Steve he was sick for the better part of 2 and 1/2 months just after returning to the States last summer. It was a scary time and shook us all up in a major way. There were teary eyes all around the table as Steve remembered a particularly bad night of high fevers and heart palpitations while we were staying outside of Chicago, all alone, in a guest house. We were there to drop Joe off at Moody Bible Institute. It was something we were all looking forward to doing since we didn't get to experience that with him his first year. We had to drop Joe off at a friend's house and miss out touring Chicago and helping Joe move in since we decided Steve needed to get back to York to our medical team.
It is amazing to hear from each of the kids how much they have appreciated the way they were/are being raised. Sending our kids away to school was one of the most difficult things Steve and I have ever had to do. It has caused a great deal of heart ache to this mother's heart. Steve and I still tear up thinking of the goodbyes we had to make at the end of summer and breaks. It seemed so wrong to send our babies away. However, we investigated and prayed and sought advice and came to the decision that sending our kids would be the best thing for them in our situation. They have each been shaped in profound ways by being away and in the community of RFIS. They had stand in parents that loved and encouraged and taught them in ways I am forever thankful for. They made lifelong friendships. They had inspirational, brilliant teachers and staff that passionately serve the Lord through RFIS. There were highs and lows all throughout.
I loved last night sitting around our borrowed table in a borrowed kitchen in a borrowed house in York, Pennsylvania. Our family shared highs and lows and hopes and dreams and prayers for 2014 - 2015. We could never have known back in France during our Lost lunches how we would be "found" again and again through different places with different people but with the Same God to guide and inspire and love us completely. How very blessed we have been to live where we have lived and love people that have journeyed alongside us both far and near. I will close with a deep and impassioned quote from Jack of Lost, "if we can't live together, we're gonna die alone."