Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
We watch her walk away, laughing and chatting with her travel companions, and her father and I marvel at our beautiful daughter's relaxed confidence as she approaches the airport security area. She is setting off on a European adventure, spending the fall semester at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. We have been planning and preparing for months - dealing with all of the confusing aspects of going to a foreign country. Tensions were high during the last week as we shopped for last minute items (a good umbrella, neck pillow, toiletries etc.), and packed and repacked her two suitcases and two carry-ons. Does she have the right converters and adapters? How many Euros will she need to start with? How can she get minutes for her international phone? (This turned out to be much more complicated than we thought it would be.) In the end we just had to take our best educated guesses, zip up the suitcases, drive her to the airport, send her off, and leave the airport feeling very empty and helpless. It's hard to let go.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
“Standing calmly at the crossroads, no desire to run. There’s no hurry anymore when all is said and done.” I’m an ABBA geek, I can’t help it. I loved them in the 1970‘s when they were moderately popular in the U.S. and phenomenally popular in Europe. I bought as many of their albums as I could get my hands on and knew all of their songs; when our turntable died I bought a greatest hits CD and for many years had to be satisfied with the few songs (20?) on this one disc. Imagine how thrilled I was when Mamma Mia became a musical - finally this wonderful music was getting the appreciation that it deserved! I loved both the broadway show and the movie (although I did question some of the casting decisions for the movie - Pierce Brosnan singing?) I was reintroduced to ABBA songs that I hadn’t heard for years, but the one that resonated the most with me came near the end of the movie - “When All Is Said and Done”.
Our family is at a crossroads in our lives. Ed has a new and challenging church with different needs and expectations, I am searching for a way to continue in my career after having left what I thought was the perfect job, and the kids all have adjustments to make as well. But after 25 years of marriage Ed and I can find the strength to meet these new challenges together. When we started dating our friends were incredulous - it didn’t make sense to them, we just didn’t fit together! I was quiet and studious with a little bit of feminist spunk thrown in, and Ed was a country boy (and proud of it) and a reluctant student marking time until he could get into an art school. We met through Christian organizations that we both participated in, and I was initially attracted to his laid back nature and his sense of fun, but as I got to know him better it was his strong integrity that impressed me the most. We dated though most of college and married as soon as Ed graduated.
Together we have weathered graduate school for me, seminary then a doctoral program for him, three children (I was pregnant on our first anniversary), a miscarriage, illnesses, estrangement, and death within our extended family, and serious health issues within our immediate family, career changes, and always strained finances. We haven’t always been very patient with each other through all of this, but when one of us really needs the other the strength of our love for each other kicks in. I will never forget how well Ed took care of me when I was so sick with an endlessly long and terrifying bout with vertigo. He shouldered all of my responsibilities as well as his own, and tirelessly took me to every doctor’s appointment while confidently reassuring me that I would get better. He was my rock then, and when I struggle with the residual effects of this illness I can still draw strength from him.
"Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls" Jeremiah 6:16 We are standing at a crossroads together, but we have the God-given strength of more than 28 love-filled years together to stand on, and holding tightly to each other and to our God, we can go into an unknown future unafraid.