Saturday, April 4, 2009

Packing like mad, feeling a bit sad

So, how do you pack for a range of 60 degrees, for three people, to fit into two suitcases? We need stuff for our week-long trip to chilly Alaska to visit friends, supporters and a supporting church there (assuming the eruption of Mt. Redoubt doesn't delay us and complicate our plans even more). Then we head to Indonesia, where we spend a few days at an MAF conference in a town different from the one in which we live. Then finally, in just over two weeks, we will arrive home to Tarakan, Indonesia. I have no idea if or when I'll be able to do laundry, or buy diapers. And I hope all my small amounts of shampoo, soap, etc. will last until we get settled back into our home.

I've spent the day surrounded my suitcases, trying to divide our possessions into various piles. A pile for Indonesia. A pile for Alaska. A pile for storage. A pile for goodwill. A pile to pick up at a later trip when I'll return to Colorado for my brother's wedding. A pile to use during that visit, which will then be divided into a pile to take back to Indonesia and a pile to remain in Colorado.

We've packed, unpacked and repacked our two suitcases several times--trying to get within that 50-pound limit. It's after midnight and we're finally done.

In the meantime, the packing is barely distracting me from the sadness at leaving my family. I know once I'm on that plane, I'll be excited to return to our home in Indonesia. We love our lives, friends and work there. We are glad to be returning. But it's still hard to leave family.

I'll miss my sister's wedding next month. I never thought I'd miss that. I'll be able to return for my brother's wedding in three months, thankfully. But I'll miss many more things--perhaps my older sister's wedding whenever she's ready for that; the birth of my siblings' babies, when they come along; my brother's graduation and commissioning into the Army; birthdays, Christmases, etc. etc.

I love my family. And I've enjoyed being a part of their daily lives. I love that my dad, a retired Army soldier, taught my 10-month-old baby how to salute. I love how my mom takes care of me so well, and loves my son almost as much as I do. I love seeing my younger sister being treasured by her fiance. I love the conversations over tea that I have with my older sister. And I love seeing how my baby brother (nine years younger than me) has turned into an incredible man of God who I admire.

So, while packing for our complicated trip is challenging, leaving my family is the hardest part.

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