|the kids at our "home away from home" - Huayquique beach|
It is a rare moment of silence in our house as I write. The little red metal fan is rhythmically sending cool air into a living room scattered with baby wipes, changing pads, rubber-gripped Kindles, toys, shoes and haphazard piles of papers and books galore. This is us, I admit at a glance. Pedro is on one of his weekly delivery routes of teenaged human beings headed to youth group, with a squawky Silas in tow. (Baby #6 recently discovered the ability to scream and the delight in his siblings' reaction overtakes any concern at Daddy's disapproval!) Owen chose to stay home to nurse a cold in an attempt to be well for his brother's birthday outing tomorrow. He, Alec and Ian are contentedly playing Legos in their small bedroom upstairs, somehow tucked between laundry loads and bulging dressers and the triple bunkbed they share.
The weather has suddenly changed in Iquique, and the nights are now cool enough for Eva to don a sweatshirt before leaving while Isabel still wears capris to highlight her newest pair of shoes (a great two-for-one deal on golden and turquoise Egyptian-style sandals, to be precise!) It is not cool enough to warrant closing the windows just yet, and sounds of passing cars swish in through the open door. Multiple new stoplights on our corner and just up the street make for different patterns of stopping and starting, pealing and squealing - especially on the sharp incline paved into place just across from our front gate. The sounds are oddly soothing with comforting familiarity and the accompanying feeling of belonging in this house where our family has spent seven of the past eight years.
Yet change is coming like the next cool breeze waiting to gust inside.
Amidst great busyness we have managed to hold it at bay, but time is running out and commitments here are winding down. After next week's highly-anticipated ministry in local schools with our friend Pastor Cristian representing FLORECE, we have no more excuses to keep from staring packing in the face. Perhaps that is why I want to bottle this moment up now, another memory of hundreds we have made in this place. This is the home where we settled our then seven, six, and four year old trio of children; where they first donned school uniforms for Chilean schools and learned Spanish; where two little brothers arrived from Haiti to turn our world upside down and rightside up again; and most recently, a baby boy sweetened each new day with his smiles.
It is the home that has seen many changes, including those lately which have taken Mommy away more days than not. Yet it is the home that greets me with toddling legs and big smiles at the gate and warm hugs from growing boys pulling their gazes from little monitors to welcome me back. It is where the enjoyment of a shared show gathers the "Fab Five" and I snugly together around couches and laughter and imagination many evenings. And where the table erupts with clapping when Daddy brings forth his famous barbecued meats and chicken, treating us to his love language of service. It is where the whole world stops when little brother does something new and everyone is in agreement that he is the smartest, cutest, funniest baby we've ever seen.
This is the home where questions are asked, difficult discussions are had, tears are sometimes shed, and prayers are prayed - with love and care, but room to do so much better. Now we will gather our stories and sadness and expectation and trust in God's bigger plan as we prepare to say goodbye for a year's furlough and the new memories He has in store for us. Pretty soon another living room will be scattered with our stuff and the reminder that a family lives and learns and loves here together. This is us, I will admit at a glance.
Yes, change is coming ... but by God's grace, this family is staying together wherever we go.