Monday, April 9, 2012

The Movement of Moments

Renea swings between Brad and me as we walk to church on Easter morning. We each hold one of our daughter’s hands, lifting her by her arms every few steps.

The sky is gorgeous blue, the blossoms on the trees fluffy and sweet. Extended family—both his and mine—surround us. It’s one of those moments I wish would last longer than the five-minute journey down the block.

We spend the morning worshipping in the church where I spent two of my high school years. Where, eleven years ago, Brad and I walked down its center aisle, said our vows, surrounded by flowers, friends and family. Seems like only a moment ago.

Sitting in the service on Easter—all in English, all fitting my American church culture—the faces of Indonesian friends flash through my head. What I miss out on in American church by living in Indonesia, I gain in worshipping with others and their rich faith.

I know how good I have it in Indonesia—getting to see a real God at work in the lives of others, and especially in mine. But I’m glad for this moment, anyway, where worship rolls off the tongue in my own language, so easy.

In front of us, the American family who used to live in Afghanistan, who continue to be an encouragement for us when we stop through Colorado, turn back to smile at us.

I know enough to know that even my years spent in Indonesia will someday feel like just a moment. That someday I’ll be the one welcoming back people from afar. Nodding in understanding for this double life lived with moments that are achingly hard and memorably special.

After the service, we walk back to my parents’ house, past the neighbors who just lost their son. A 19-year-old boy fell off a cliff hiking on Saturday. The street is filled with cars. The two kids sitting out front, quiet, sad. The life finished in a moment—too soon. Reminding me of the treasure of the everyday stolen life we live.

But sometimes I forget to be thankful for the moments, especially the moments that last for years. The raising of kids overseas and all its challenges and adventures spanning endless sleepless nights. The years of hoping for change among a people who struggle. The never-ending summer days of living in tropical, sticky heat, tired, confused, sometimes lonely.

And sometimes the moments disappear almost as soon as they begin. The smile exchanged with my husband over a soon-forgotten funny kid-thing. The flight that ended with a life saved, one in an endless series of take-offs and landings. And a month with family in the States, speeding by in the midst of special conversations, pizza parties, egg hunts and leisurely walks.

I’m never really ready for the family moments to end. One more nice conversation, please? One more mom-cooked meal. One more kiss on my niece’s cheek.

But for now, we prepare to spend a too-long moment on the flights back to Indonesia. Where we’ll begin another batch of moments I hope I never forget.

photo credit, Stig Nygaard

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