I am used to sticking out. And so when I carted my two bleary-eyed, fussy kids, and our stuff past the U.S. Customs officer, I expected him to notice.
The last one had—back when we were taking our first furlough, our son just four months old. That officer that stamped our passport after 3 ½ years out of the country. He noticed the length of time, smiled big and welcomed us back.
And it felt good.
But this time, though, the guy mumbled a smileless “Welcome home” before calling “Next!” I didn’t mind that we were one family in a long line of people unknown, unnoticed. I wanted this—this anonymity. I needed it. For now.
It’s been almost three years this time—not quite time for a furlough. That will come next summer. This time, the kids and I are joining Brad on a training trip. We’ll spend the month in Colorado where my parents live. Brad will spend two weeks in Washington and Idaho for training, then join us for some vacation time.
Almost three years since we’ve been in the States—a long three years. Two years of it, Brad has been working on a master’s degree. Sicknesses have marked the memories—Evan, age 1 at the time, sick with dengue fever.
Long power outages have peppered the years, adding to the inconvenience of this place that used to have more regular electricity. Another kid added to our lives—one with an American passport, but Indonesian bare feet. Ministry that we love has spilled over into the free evenings and the weekends. Losses, of friends to death or moves, have left their aching marks.
Most things good. Some things really hard. All—good and bad—a lot.
And sometimes I just want to disappear into some cabin in the mountains and never talk to anybody and never do anything more than read a book.
But I want other things more.
I want a story for my life—one that costs a lot, but is worth a lot. I want good things, things that will last forever. I want to see things happen that are bigger than me. I want to live as if I am brave.
And so I will blend in for today in this country of my birth, and willingly—after a nice break—stick out in the country of my continuous rebirth.
photo credit, Beverly & Pack