At meals, our family holds hands when we pray. One Sunday, about 10 years ago, my grandma was holding hands with Jane, another lady from our church. The lady commented on how Gram’s hands felt cold. Gram said “you know what that means”—Jane said “warm heart”—gram replied “poor circulation”. Well you know, these colder days do make for interesting times of cold hands and feet when going out and about. Yet, I’m finding there to be this calm and warmth and this work of grace happening in my heart, a softening of sorts. It’s advent and I’m loving these days of learning to settle down and not be overcome by the crazy of the season. Slow.
Cheers to the sweet voices of She & Him serenading this home with Christmas cheer. Cheers to learning more about the art I love doing and that gouache is the new ink of choice, big cheers and confetti and throw a coconut on top for this one. And oh, Cheers to Sunday nights after markets and meetings and public transportation, to find one of my favorite newlywed couples welcoming me into their home to chat the evening away. Cheers to internet in this land, which never works like….. it…. wants to. Cheers to Ann Voskamp for writing a book to set my heart on the real meaning of this season, blessing my days and life with fresh perspective. Cheers to a colleague hearing my voice and coming to find me today, and the dinner we shared, sitting on the floor of a Korean restaurant: there is a Master-weaver putting together each moment of our days.
That’s how we need to live.
Contrary to popular opinion– living abroad is not always glamorous. In fact, some days it’s pretty hard. I know that this is where my heavenly Father has me for this season of my life, so I do really desire to see things through the lens of truth. Yet I am human and I am weak. I know that some families are rather dysfunctional and family members don’t like to talk to each other. But I don’t have a family like that. Sure we have our issues, but really– I am a blessed girl to have such dear relatives.
But you know that verse about taking up your cross, or the one about leaving family to follow? Sometimes taking this seriously means a lot of… shall we say… loss. Like not being able to attend family reunions. For many years on end. It could also mean missing weddings, when your whole family is together and you can’t join them. It’s those moments when your cousin gives birth and you can’t cuddle with it, because when you meet they’re already say… 3? Or it’s nights when they have fun being crazy.. and all you get to do is enjoy a little Facebook status and laugh, wishing you could be part of the fun. It’s those holiday when your family is feasting together on foods you can’t even access. It’s that togetherness. Don’t get me wrong, we are blessed to live in this era when we can video call and it seem like we’re actually together. But togetherness. That’s what I miss.When my heart aches over pictures of cousins being all together.. and tears don’t stop falling. The best thing I can do is pray. Pray that they are walking in truth. Pray that they are growing in their knowledge of the Lord. Pray that they would know they are deeply loved — not just by me, but by the creator of the universe.
Yes, life abroad has its ups and downs. I’m learning how to rejoice regardless. It’s in those hard moments when I think about the memories, and thank the Lord for those time we WERE together, and joyfully anticipate when we reunite. The day will come– here or in glory.
Regardless. I’m grateful to have these people in my life.