I wrote this in our last days in the DR but am just now getting it up here so obviously some details have changed since I wrote it. I still think it is necessary to get it up.
Well friends, we are coming to the end of our time in the Dominican Republic. Our older boys leave in less than two weeks with their grandpa and Harley, Isaac and I will follow as soon after that as we can, depending on Isaac’s adoption paperwork. This time has been coming for awhile but I’ve honestly had a hard time being reflective until just recently. Finally my subconscious is pushing things to the surface and I am starting to realize things I hadn’t before.
First, I had a weird moment on Sunday as we were filling out of church. It struck me that I no longer saw the people around me as “the people God has sent me to” or “the people group I serve,” which was how I saw them for a long time. It just hit me out of the blue that these were just my friends, church family, and neighbors. As I reflected on that a little more I realized it was true in all areas of my life here. I wasn’t here to “serve Dominican students at Doulos,” I was here to serve Rebekah, Lissette, Luisa, Oscar…gosh this is hard to explain and I feel embarrassed that I ever thought of them all as my “people group” or some such missionary nonsense. They are all just individuals in my life. I love and serve them because of just that, the same as I would the individuals in my life in Spokane or anywhere else. I just love them because of who each one is. Maybe it is a fine line but I can still see it drawn out in front of me and I know I’ve changed sides.
The second realization I’ve had recently has to do with stuff I’m moving towards instead of people I am leaving behind. People, I’m horrified to admit this but…I want my silverware that is waiting in a box in the US for me. It is nice silverware. It has spoons that are just the right size and the pieces are balanced in your hand…and they are mine. This summer we have been blessed to house sit for two different sets of friends. So not counting my miss-matched, pieced together set we have used here, that is two more sets used recently. I know it sounds so shallow but there it is. And that’s not all.
I want power that is 99.9% reliable. I want to open my mouth in the shower and let that clean water rush on in, no fear of amoebas and parasites. I want to be able to listen to the sermon on Sunday with half an ear and still get everything that is being said (don’t judge, you know you do that! I am so exhausted after the hour long sermon in Spanish that I have had to pay attention to every word so that I am not totally lost and even then I don’t really get it all). I feel like, as a “mature” missionary and Christian I should be so far beyond all this. I feel like all these temporal things should hold no value for me, that I should be able to shun them forever if needed. Maybe I could if it was being asked of me, but right now I want them all!
We are tired friends. We have put off doing, seeing, eating, and being in so many ways these last four years. They have been wonderful and challenging and exactly what we were supposed to do and we don’t regret a moment of them, but right now we are tired. Our marriage that we have been propping up in many ways, needs a break from the pressures of life oversees. Our kids need to be able to participate in things they have given up. Our families in the States need to make up time they’ve missed. We are ready.
This has all led us to think about what it takes to be a “long term” missionary. We have so many good friends who make this place, or another, their life’s home. Whereas we feel like we put a huge part of our life on hold to be doing what we have done here, for many people life here is just their life. Sure, they go back and forth to the US, but their life is here. That hasn’t been how we have chosen to be and I don’t know if it would have turned out differently if we had started out with that mindset or not. Maybe we were never supposed to. Or maybe our “lifer” friends didn’t start out that way but had a transition in their mindset at some point. Obviously I don’t have any answers here.
So we will be leaving here in the next weeks or month and are struggling with some big questions. We are not sure where to turn. Where will we find others who have lived this double life and lived to tell of it? How do we enter back into US life in pretty much the same place as we left it but we are so changed and probably so are our friends. At least to these questions we will hopefully find some answers at a special training in CO this fall. We will head to DAR (debrief and renewal) training in the Colorado Springs area to, well, debrief and get some renewal. After that we will take a bit of time to transition with our kids before starting “real life” in Spokane, WA again.
So, with these wandering ruminations I get ready to close out this blog. Soon we won’t be “macmission” anymore, at least in the way we have been here. Already we aren’t “5” anymore since adding Isaac. It seems appropriate that, as the title of our blog becomes obsolete, I move on to other blogging ventures. As a way to launch our family into this new phase of our lives, Harley and I are launching a new website that I think you will want to check out. It will chronicle our adventures in the outdoors with our kids and hopefully encourage others to get their kids outside more. We are also planning to launch some ebooks later this year to the same effect. You can go check out trip reports, blog posts and some great photos at http://www.our4outdoors.com . We hope you go check it out, bookmark it and that it brings inspiration to you and your family. Thank you for following us here-it’s been an interesting road!.