Monday, July 29, 2013

Hurry up and wait

*For the super-short version, scroll to the end.*

Life is like a trip to the airport. You plan and prepare and pack and print things out and decide when you need to be in the car and then make sure you're ready a half hour before that. You make everyone go potty twice and pack more snacks and wear your sneakers because no matter how much you prepare, you're going to be late for something. You speed just a little to get to the airport, but not too much because you can afford to be a few minutes behind schedule but not I-got-pulled-over late to the airport.

You herd everyone in and calmly direct everyone to carry their own darn backpacks and wait patiently at the counter while the attendant loses you in the system and you smile politely at the people who stare you down for daring to fly on the same plane as them with your four kids.

You pray your way through a crowded security line and breathe a sigh of relief when Junior parts with his stuffy without a major temper tantrum. You refrain from hugging the TSA agents since kids don't have to take their shoes off anymore. You stuff everyone back into their sweatshirts, backpacks (still carry your own darn backpack!), etc and retrieve everyone's lovies and stuffies and headphones before you sneak a peek at the clock and silently curse yourself for not leaving 15 minutes earlier.

And then you speedwalk/sprint/drag your kids down to Terminal Very-End-of-the-Airport where there are no bathrooms or snacks or open seats or available electrical outlets for last-minute iPad charging.

And then you look up at the sign and see that your flight is delayed and you have all the time in the world. And you're left with the bare minimum because you only let the kids pack what they could carry in their own darn backpacks and juice boxes are too heavy to carry and the baby falls asleep, which means whenever the plane takes off, she won't be tired anymore and you can almost hear all your careful planning whooshing back through the terminal on the people-mover.

Hurry up and wait - that's the expression, right? It applies to travel. To adoption. To getting to just about any medical appointment.

It applies to us right now. Brazil is still in the works. We've garage saled, purged our home of every single happy meal toy, prepared, said goodbye, listed the house, filled out three bajillion forms that relate to human resources, started learning Portuguese. And now we wait.

We continue to mentally and emotionally move South, while being physically locked in to life here. That's not a complaint; it's just a status update.

It's actually been (for me) an emotionally exhausting journey. I can do the hurry up part, but I really stink at the waiting. I remember a year ago, when Ben first relieved himself of his leadership role at AIA, how incredibly hard that was for me. Because I loved his job. It was great for him, and he was great at it. Seeing him in that role felt like getting a window into the specific reflection of God's image that was created in Ben. It was hard for me for lots of other reasons too. But I remember saying to Ben and to our boss, as I finally came to accept Ben's decision as right and good, that "I just need to start the process of figuring out what's next. I want a goal, something to move forward towards, while my health is holding us back."

And we did start that process - gingerly, cautiously, prayerfully, but with purpose. And we were asked about a role that seemed like a good fit. And as we prepared to accept that, we were asked to "hit the pause button" on that plan. And that was sad for about a million reasons, but it led us to the place where we began to consider an international move to Brazil. And that felt joyous, victorious, and beautiful. Everything about that felt (and still feels) right to me.

And now, it's becoming clear through circumstances beyond our control that we need to wait for at least a few months before we can move to Brazil. And that feels sad for about a million reasons. Our enthusiasm for this calling, our belief in this mission, our love for our Brazilian co-workers, our desire for a family adventure, the peace we've found in the process of surrender have all combined to put our hearts and minds on an express jet to Brazil. But, there are a few elusive documents that we need before we can apply for our visas. And the visa process itself takes 3-6 months.

So, just like in the adoption process, we've come to a hard time of waiting.

We're not giving up or changing course. While we were hoping to arrive in Brazil this Fall, we are acknowledging that this process is going to be longer than we thought, and that when God says "it's time," He will walk us back down the path of purging, packing, and real estate.

This morning we had a call with someone who was helping us process the delay, and he said some things that were helpful. He described how when people do team-building exercises where they have to walk blindfolded, they tend to veer right or left. And, unless someone points this out, the walker doesn't know to correct it. It took him about 20 minutes to realize that Ben and I - when exercising our faith - tend to veer towards action, while some people veer towards waiting. Neither is right or wrong, and both often take discipline. For us, who want to turn our obedience directly into plane tickets, it's going to take some discipline to wait on God for his timing on our departure.

And that's the update on Brazil. We continue to lean on your prayers.

Life in Ohio will look much like it did this past year - kids in school, Ben working on his doctorate and our support, me keeping up with them all and helping however I can. But this year does NOT include chemo or radiation, so for that I'm excited!

*Sometimes I use so many words that I get confusing. Here's the super-short version: We are still planning on moving to Brazil. We wish we could go next week, but we don't have our visa yet, and we probably won't for a while yet. So, we're waiting on that, and that makes us sad, but we still trust our Jesus.*

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