Two Roads Diverged in a Wood, (and I sat on a stump instead.)
Why must you always change my plans?
Seriously though. Life lately has been changing pace so quickly, I’m not really sure where to hold on for the ride.
From getting pregnant in Haiti and flying home the next day due to Zika, then not being able to go back to Haiti till the baby is born (due to Zika) to having this subchorionic hemorrhage and all the problems it entails, I’m on the bench for the summer (and until the baby is born) as far as travel goes. Yes, this even means missing our PPM meetings this August!
It’s funny really. When we serve month after month internationally, by the end of the summer there is this feeling of “I can’t wait to sleep in our own bed and take warm showers and play in the backyard with Edison.” But today, what I wouldn’t give to sleep on an air mattress in the blazing heat of a Haiti night and take a cold shower at 2 am just to cool off.
We humans are so fickle. Wanting what we can’t have and then taking for granted what we do have when we have it…
And so while I’m on the bench when it comes to travel, I’m re-focusing my attention on my mission base here at home. Which sounds easy, but totally isn’t.
And I keep asking myself – Why?
Why is it so much more difficult for me to focus on Christ and be engaged in His work on a local level than a global level? Why is it that I wouldn’t hesitate to hop on a flight to Miami or Tucson or Belize or Haiti for mission work for a few months, and yet, when bound to my hometown and a 2 hour driving radius from it, I’m completely stuck in the mud?
I think mostly it comes from a few things:
TV shows, books, internet, movies, phones, social media, events, schedules, work, etc.
There is just so much here to take up your time and keep you distracted. So many small things add up to steal away your time and focus. When we are traveling or abroad, we are so so busy – but it’s a different kind of busy. We are busy leading teams, setting up trips, investing in staff, traveling together. And there is an active, desperate need for the Lord to sustain and provide for you every. single. hour.
I find myself taking out my phone less to peruse Facebook and Instagram and instead, pulling it out more to read a quick scripture of encouragement and strength or to take a picture of the ministry happening right infront of me.
Here in the USA things are GO GO GO, 24/7. Wake up, breakfast, daycare, work, daycare, cook dinner, activities, church, and try to hit the bed before you fall into the floor.
While in Haiti or while we are traveling, things are still incredibly busy – but when the culture is slower, it slows you down too. It brings about a mental shift – a shift that says
¨It´s okay to pause.¨
¨It´s good to stop and breathe.¨
¨There is no penalty here for self-care.¨
I think in the USA we are quick to shame one another for moments of pause and boundaries within our lives about time. When someone says ¨no¨ to an event, or an invite, we automatically are offended or dissapointed. And there is a lot of pressure to always be around. To be the family that makes it to all the events, who serves at every volunteer weekend, who has kids with a million hobbies…
But deep down, we are all craving for our culture to SLOW DOWN.
Slow down in the mornings when you have a precious hour before work. Cut down on your hair and makeup time, offer instant oatmeal instead of a 5 Michelen star breakfast, and just BE present with your children. BE present with your God.
I am learning this is where I fail every day. Especially now that I am pregnant and feeling super tired – I am so tempted to spend 10 more minutes in bed while Edison plays in his crib. But I’m learning to get up, go get him and sit in the floor for a few minutes to start the day. It does wonders for the both of us.
Now that my life (and activity level) has shifted, I find myself a little bummed on the day to day. Bummed about the people and country and job that I love and how far away they are from me.
There is the fear of missing out – of not being present for the memories and ministry. Of the plain homesickness for friends.
Knowing that I won’t see our staff, our ministry partners and friends for another 9 months is just really hard.
And it´s tempting to allow that homesickness to overshadow the opportunity for goodness here at home. I wrote about this very thing 2 summers ago when I couldn´t go to Haiti, but Eric did. Read more about that here: http://ericandbeth.us/floating-balance/
But when plans change and the path ahead seems shrouded in confusion – we just press on, trusting that the good is hidden within the journey.
It’s so easy for me to come to a fork in the road like this and be overwhelmed. I just want to sit on the closest stump and wait for someone to open up the detour that will get me back on track the fastest.
But where’s the fun in that, right?
The point of taking the road less traveled is that it is full of challenges, unexpected adventure and walking by faith. Part of the adventure is the forging your own new path, swatting mosquitoes along the way and in the end, finding a piece of the world that no one else has yet discovered, a piece meant only for you.
So I’m going to take some advice from my two-year-ago self and focus on the now. To be present. But not to be so caught up in American culture that I miss out on the things that matter most – God time and family time.
Thanks Lord for orchestrating this summer at home – I’m not sure if it was Your plan all along or if You are simply taking my lemons and making something sweet out of them. 😉
All I know is I don’t want to waste a moment.
I want to be invested in our family.
Invested in this pregnancy.
Invested in my mission.
Invested in my church.
Invested in the present.
Invested in You.
Be thou my Vision, oh King of my heart.