We arrived home at 2am this morning. And I can assure you, we're all feeling it this afternoon. Overall, it was such a fantastic trip. We were encouraged and challenged…and the kids were lovin' some time with other "third culture" kids. We were in meetings most of the days from around 8:30-5 with a lunch break to get the kids some lunch and a little rest. This is an annual conference for us, a highlight in our year. We decided to stay an extra day this time to enjoy the hotel without a schedule. We're glad we did. And now, we're glad to be home.
Somewhere around 9pm, after careening…and I do mean careening…through Thailand at high speeds for 3 hours to get from the beach to the airport, I saw a girl wearing a t-shirt. It said "Living The Dream." I looked at hubs, who by that point had been thrown up on or near three times en route, lugged baggage for a family of five through the airport, run the gamut of customs and immigration with all of us in tow, chased weary, wound up boys through the airport and listened to the sighs and angst of his totally "done" wife with sympathy. We laughed hard. Then we said, "This is it. We are living the dream." And we really meant it. We're doing exactly what we hoped we'd be doing in this season.
It is exciting and adventurous and meaningful…and let's be honest…sometimes it's just plain exhausting.
You always imagine yourself in the snapshots. I mean, we vacationed in Thailand, right?! We rocked the baby in a hammock under the palms. We ate dinner in a cabana under the stars. We lounged by the pool and played in the sand.
But the reality is a lot messier.
The baby had a fever that turned into a bad cough. Silas woke up in the middle of the night and we were a bit sleep deprived. Someone didn't want the dinner under the stars, so there were tears in the cabana. It's more wearisome and difficult and real. It's not just the snapshot.
I love the glimpses in a photo or a memory because they remind me of how amazing and beautiful these days really are. I know that I will look back on these days as golden years. But sometimes I also feel the need to write to remind myself in years to come…and to those of you who catch the glimpses….that the reality of the dream takes work, energy, and determination.
It is hard to live like this with all these little people. If someone had offered me a plane ticket to America last night instead of back to our country, I'd have been very tempted to take it. Sometimes I wish I could find a quiet house in our hometown and stay there until I have grandchildren. This is the dream we were always talking about though. Real life with real people in a real world. And those yearnings for quiet, settled spaces where all is utterly right…they have more to do with the next world than with this one. The hope of things to come.
The simple, fleeting beauty reflected in these snapshots is like a promise of what's to come.
And that is the dream I want these days to build in our hearts.
If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world. - C.S. Lewis