Last week was the third time they have gone to Guatemala. My man and my older daughter leave with a group of doctors, nurses, and various others to go to a remote clinic in the mountains of Guatemala. There they do 1 day of triage, 4 days of surgeries, 1 day of clinic cleaning, 1 day of sight seeing, and 2 days of travel. It is incredible exposure for my 13 year-old nurse-wannabe and it is an amazing way for my man nurse to use the gifts and abilities that God has granted him. They love it.
I usually dread it.
It’s a long nine days without them. I feel lost and alone and barely able to breathe. More accurately, that is how I have felt in the past. I don’t accept change well. I don’t like it when the pieces of my orderly world are changed and rearranged. I tend to fight change.
Not this time.
Right before they left, I started reading Shauna Niequist’s book, Bittersweet. She opens the book with a chapter on swimming and it was in reading that chapter that I was hooked. Shauna grew up swimming in Lake Michigan each summer. The very same Big Lake that is my happy place is hers too. She tells the story of being a young girl learning to swim in the big lake. She would face the waves head on. Each and every time, that big wave would pull her under, scrape her against the sand, and more often than not take her very breath away. It was in learning to lean into the wave, that Shauna learned to swim. When the waves would come, she would turn and let the wave carry her. Instead of fighting and inhaling Lake Michigan, she would float on top of the water and ride the wave. For one who also swam in Lake Michigan as a young girl, I totally get this. And, this illustration fits my life too. So often, I fight the waves, get pulled under gasping and choking for air. Sometimes, I even loosing my swimsuit bottoms in the process and come up fighting and embarrassed.
At 44 years of age, I think I’m finally learning how to swim in this sea of life.
When my man and my daughter left for their 9 day adventure, I didn’t lie awake fighting the inevitable. I slept like a rock. And, the next day, started my own adventure with the two that were here with me. It was an incredible week of getting to know my 9 year old and my 16 year old better. A week of discovering joy in the little things and finding peace in just being together.
Quite honestly, there is a small part that hated to see our adventure end.
I love that my man and daughter are home again. I feel complete. I’m also walking around feeling lighter because I’ve learned how to swim.
I’m counting my gifts of gratitude today with the Multitudes on Monday gang over at Ann’s. I lost count of the number a while ago, but I keep on counting… keep on recording these gifts from my God that make my life oh so much richer.
For these and more, I am grateful.
… for a fun week
… and candid conversations
… for life lessons learned and learned and learned
… for the return of lemon ice at Culver’s
… and how he still loves his job there
… for sleep overs
… and quality people who have friended me and my kids
… and for modern technology that allows 3 friends some face time
… for spontaneous conversations that give me a glimpse into my girl’s life
… and fun field trips with friends
… for another incredible Guatemalan trip
… for quick healing from sickness
… and safety
… for their hearts
… and the fact that they want to go
… for those who give to help them
… and the many odd jobs they did to finance their way
… for smiles and laughter
… and a moment of sibling compatibility
… and waffle fries
… for swimming lessons
… and life lessons
… and learning to lean into the waves