Sometimes silence is for the best, and other times it is required of you.
It feels like recently it has been required of us on this blog. It feels like I can’t always share the full story or talk about how things are changing for us. Or even how they are staying the same. It feels like I can’t tell the details–painful or funny or absolutely absurd–of our current surroundings as we switch organizations and adjust to a changing political situation.
And amidst the current events of our street, our town, our country, our lives: we have been praying through so many, many things, and we’ve made what feels like a big decision.
We have purchased tickets to come back to the States for a short visit from mid-July to mid-August! I put an exclamation there because in some ways we are quite excited: we will get to see some of our families; we will meet one new little niece and one new little nephew long before we thought we would. We will get to be there for my niece to start kindergarten. These are all things we are looking forward to and thankful to be a part of.
We also knew we needed to leave the country in July to acquire a new visa under our new organization, so we had been looking into short trips to Laos, Burma, or Malaysia. We found all of these to be sounding quite exhausting and expensive for what they were: just a visa trip to a place we’d rather not be visiting right now!
Ultimately, we have made this decision to seek rest and recuperation. We felt that a trip to the States would provide a visa alongside pastoral care, counseling, and time with family.
We had high hopes of continuing forward after a year with quite a few unexpected changes–not least of which is changing organizations and our jobs–but when all of the unexpected events happened in our neighborhood less than a month ago and the same week we lost some very dear friends, it felt like a very swift kick to the gut. And as we’ve continued putting pieces together in our neighborhood, adjusted to some recent changes locally and nationally, continued attempting to finish well at Partners, and continued to pray about what is ahead for us, we just felt we needed a time out.
A time out to seek pastoral care, to rest, to pray things through. A time out in an attempt to know our limits and weaknesses. I guess you could say we are taking a time out in search of grace: grace for us; grace in our questions, fears, and pain; grace for others in our weaknesses and our choices.
In some ways it doesn’t seem fair, and I’ve really wrestled with this. Our neighbors probably want a break, too. They are probably calling for a time out, and they don’t really have the option to do so. They have day labor to work and kids to get to school and food to find before dinner.
And maybe you, too–maybe you are looking for a break.
I have always had more questions than answers, and the questions are growing. Even as we seek wise counsel and pastoral care, I don’t think I’m looking for answers per say; I am more looking for ways to live with the questions. Or to somehow let grace cover them.
I’m sure this brings forth many questions; and to be honest–its scary to write out big decisions like this; decisions that are personal but become public because we are supported by the Church and the Body. We are a part of a greater community.
To answer some questions, we’ll be arriving on 15 July and staying through 21 August. We currently plan to primarily be in Little Rock, where our families are based, and we’ll seek counsel and pastoral care from there. Because this is primarily for these purposes, we aren’t planning to have many meetings or see many people, and I suppose we simply ask that you don’t take it personally!
We had previously planned to return to the States on furlough in early 2015, and we still plan to do that at this point.
Obviously this trip proves that plans are…well, just that: plans.
If we continue with that plan, we will try to do more traveling then and visit various churches and see supporters and friends. While we may catch up with some on this trip, we are trying to provide a space for rest without too much pressure.
…We are trying to give ourselves grace.
So here we are. Our last day at Partners is on Monday, and we have just under two weeks following to finish up a few projects and spend some time in the neighborhood.
We are so thankful to say that we have a friend that will be staying at our house while we are gone. She is excited to spend time with the families, play with the kids, and help with medical needs.
With the stress of the last few weeks around us, I would be really fearful to just leave for a month, so this is more of a blessing that we could ever say. We are really, really thankful for her willingness to help.
I suppose for now, we will leave it at that. We would love your prayers.
And we would love grace.