So this past week has been trying. Lace is in Africa, doing good things. We are here. Middle of America. Trips are no different; nothing new. 2, 3 day trips are the norm. They work for us. We need those trips. We need breaks from each other, our personalities dictate that.
This is different.
Lace is half a world away, in a third world country with a population that isn't, *ahem*, fond, of Americans. She is being welcomed by villagers, but in the city, as an American, as a woman, as a Christian, I know she is being targeted, derided, or maybe even worse, completely dismissed.
She is there to HELP. No agenda, other than to help growth of agricultural knowledge, sustainability. Yet, she has escorts, protection. She wants to help make them better farmers, help them feed themselves, help them long term. That doesn't matter. The people in the villages are receptiver; the people planning the next coup, the next overthrow, the next governmental change only see her as a threat.
Its a matter of philosophy, of outlook, of hope, of power, and of course, of religion.
The girls--our girls--don't understand all that. They just see Mom as a hero, as a model of how the world should be. They are right to do so. They are also naive. They are kids. They miss her. At the basest level, they know she is helping kids, people 27 flight hours away; 9 hours time difference. They know her heart for help.
But they miss her. They are kids. And they know that there are 7 more of these the next 2 years. They know that there will be misses, gaps, needs.
A 13 year old, turning 14. enduring changes and middle school strife. Starting Track & Field. Not fitting in. Awkward. Not wanting to talk to anybody, least of all her step-dad, then needing her mom; resorting to her grandmother, her Nonni.
A 7 year year old, so fiercely independent, so aggressively against all rules...until she realizes how far away Mom is. Then wanting to talk so bad, she breaks down crying because she can't even bear to do so.
A handicapped 5 year old who gets affected by a loud word, a loud noise that isn't from her own throat. Not knowing how to communicate, not possessing the capabilities, but knowing that when she talks to Mom, she isn't close.
A Dad, struggling to provide the answers, coming up woefully short, feeling strung out. Needing to provide, to sustain, and losing on all fronts. The teenager doesn't talk. The 7 year old revolts. The 5 year old just plain struggles.
But then the teen offers help from nowhere. The 7 year old gets lovey, gives hugs. The baby, shows increased understanding. They know that Dad is struggling too. They seem to see through all the other stuff, that Dad needs help too.
Its not consistent. It doesn't fix everything, but, it bridges the gap. It carries the moment. it helps.
Maybe, just possibly, perhaps, we're doing something right; some words we say get through. Some lessons stick.
There is a husband. Struggling. Lonely. Longing. Feeling so far away from the one they long to be close to. Praying for safety. Praying for good works to be done. Praying for a safe return. For however long that is. A day. Two. Hoping. Questioning. Wondering.
These aren't easy circumstances, they are, by far, not the worst. There are many others in similar, and crazier, more dangerous, more perilous situations.
But they aren't me. I'm not them. I can't relate, nor can they
I'm thankful for those around me checking in, stopping by, praying. Small towns are the best in these times. It means more than I can even begin to describe.
I hope when I pray, it is felt that way also:
By the wives whose husbands are away, defending our country, defending our way of life, working 80 weeks; providing for their families.
By the husbands, like myself, who are learning how valuable our mothers, grandmothers were--who didn't have a chance to work other than to stay at home.
By the single parents, who work multiple jobs, missing events, looking ahead to a future where they can be present, hoping it wont be too late.
We are all in this together, and I, for one, am so thankful for the people in my life, the people who make these rough times somehow easier, more bearable. You know who you are, and you are loved, and in turn prayed for and cared for and will be blessed for all you do.