My fifteen-year old daughter put the feeling into words. While we sat stopped at a red light on Sunday after church, she announced to us in the car: "I don't know where my head is. It's not here (in the States.) It's not in Chile yet, either. I don't know where it is!"
To which I could honestly reply: "I know exactly how you feel!"
Yesterday I was encouraged to take it "one day at a time." And recently, that is pretty much how things have been. With most of the family sick for almost two weeks, it was "just get through today." Then with Pedro away for a week to Chile and my solo parenting six children (which included driving a total of almost 80 miles to/from school each day) I kept doing the same thing. One day ... to the next ... to the next ... (And today he is coming home - hooray!) Tomorrow we recoup and the next day, we are off to Michigan.
I don't mind living one day at a time. But panic threatens to set in when I think of huge things hanging over my head while I do so. Figuring out schooling for the kids. Will it be online? Then we have several laptops to research and order. Should we consider Chilean school for a couple of the boys? The new law that has gone in effect since our departure seriously restricts our options. What about our child with a learning disability? Online school is not a good option, so what curriculum should we be purchasing to take with us? Should we try to squeeze four semesters into three so that our oldest child can plan on an extra six months stateside to earn money, get a driver's license and re-adapt to the US before starting college two years from now?
So many decisions that feel so weighty.
Then there are other, less weighty but equally necessary tasks. Taking inventory of eight people's clothing. Do we need socks? Undergarments? My soon-to-be thirteen-year old son has one pair of jeans that still covers his ankles. (This after growing through multiple sizes in the past nine months.) Shoes on sale here are much more affordable than in Chile. Should we stock up on several sizes, and for whom? We've got a child who wears slim, another who wears husky and everything in between. Who needs what, and how urgently?
We need to pack sixteen large and eight carry-on suitcases within a pound or two of strict airline weight limits. (First we need to purchase several more.) Speaking of weight, we need to create personalized weight management plans to satisfy medical clearance requirements. And raise a final bit of require support to meet financial clearance regulations. We also need to deep clean our lovely furlough home and try our best to minimize the effects of an eight-person family's wear and tear over the past year. More importantly, our children need our awareness and help to say good goodbyes. They will be pulling out of school early and some are sorry to miss the final class parties and fun outings that are planned. Our child who finds such comfort in animals must leave the fish club she created at school (and her beloved betta) behind.
Closure. Transition. Celebrating the positives, grieving the losses, anticipating the changes soon to come. Spending three last weeks with the Garcia grandparents when they visit next month. Storing up sweet memories with Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop during our final weeks in Pennsylvania. Being fully present here while also preparing our hearts to completely engage and joyfully serve in the ministries that await us.
My dad was famous for quoting Jim Elliot to us when we were growing up. Now, I quote it to my children and to myself: “Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”
Be all there ... Live to the hilt ... One day at a time.