Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Rhythm is Gonna Get You

Life establishes a rhythm, doesn’t it?

Whether we are highly disciplined or not (me!), our lives establish rhythms and these provide cadence to our steps.

In our garage/storage room we have a mountain of very nice luggage. Our bag of choice is currently a sturdy duffel with wheels. We have about 17 of them. (I haven’t actually counted, so that is an approximate number.)

My husband has three very nice, waterproof bags. There are two small ones and one large one.  These are awesome. We have black, grey and dark blue canvas bags.  We have one red bag. We own three car top luggage carriers that are folded and stored. And we have a various assortment of carry-on wheelie bags that are shoved in and amongst the larger cases.

We have a remaining stash of old fashioned suitcases—ones we used years ago and still haven’t given away. We never use those and they sit at the bottom of the mountain gathering mold , dust and probably providing a home for a rodent or two.

I do not like the mountain of luggage.

It’s existence, brings me stress.

I want there to be shelves where the mountain stands. And I want the bags to be neatly organized.

But the chasm between my wanting and the actual occurrence is WIDE and may never be crossed, Lord have mercy.

So the mountain stands.

(Mountain building should be left to God. His are much more majestic.)

Every time I walk into the room, the mountain gets a huff from me. I spend some minutes staring at the odd configuration. Wishing for shelves. Then I turn and leave the room.

My scorn quickly morphs into a gratefulness. I’m thankful I don’t have to pack those bags for now and with a resolute decisiveness I thank the Good Lord for that.

Over a year ago, I was purchasing some of those bags and loading them up with American goods. Packing in the States is a traumatic event. It is four hundred million decisions in the wee hours of morning. It is a marriage straining,  back breaking, heart wrenching, soul searching exercise. I dread it (as we shop), disdain it (in the process) and adore it (when we unpack at home).

The epitome of ‘mixed bag’

Over one year ago, I unpacked all those bags at home in Uganda and joyfully deposited them into the mounting heap with joy and determination. By the time we have traversed the globe, stayed in a bazillion (could be an exaggeration)  different locations, shopped for two years of supplies, repacked into 50lb disbursements and hauled them and ourselves back to life in Africa---

I am done with bags and travel for a significant period of time. Amen.

With every Home Ministry Assignment (aka ‘furlough’) my eagerness for the unpacking and settling at home seems to increase.

I was beginning to wonder if I had lost my groove. The ever-traveling part of our foreign existence that I had whole heartedly embraced seemed to have grown cold for me. And yet, our job doesn’t appear to be done yet. The mountain sits in imposing silence. 

Last week, as I stored Christmas decorations in the garage, I met a shocking realization.  My glance at the Mountain O' Luggage did not bear disdain.

It held longing.

The longing turned my glance into a stare and the briefest of smiles.

I thought simply, “It’s time.”

And instead of feeling cold— enthusiasm effused warmth and my heart swelled with eagerness.

Time to travel again.

Rhythms of life.

For our family, this means transporting ourselves across an ocean every two years to reconnect with dearest family and supporters and friends. It means hugs and memories and long, lingering conversations with Starbucks in hand.  

I guess Gloria Estefan has always known.

This nomadic existence is a rhythm for us. And after some time in one place, that rhythm has caught me again.