The conference, a constant flow of interesting and important talks, sincere people, fantastic ideas. In almost every hour there is a challenge for a new direction we could pursue to improve health, something we should change in our practice, reminders of things we have dropped. In every break, there is another person we can meet, inspiring heros who have forged further down this road than we have, or young faces whom we would love to encourage to stick with this crazy life.
The guest house, a creaking old dorm of rattling window panes, a mix of teens and toddlers, a dozen of us around the table most meals. Building community with our new and old team mates, trying to pay a bit of attention to our kids, touching base with long-term friends around RVA/Kijabe. This weekend our boys were on "mid-term" break. We had thought of getting away as a family, but Luke was pretty content to stay on-grounds since about a quarter of the senior class was doing the same, and he has never been on-station and out-of-dorm, to zip around on his friends' motorcycles and hang out at their homes. Plus we had another team birthday (celebrating 7 in a month, 3 Myhre, 2 Johnson, plus Bryan C and Anna L!).
As it turned out, it was good that we stayed. Caleb came down with a pretty serious pneumonia on Friday, either a complication of the influenza or a secondary bacterial infection . . by Saturday morning he looked concerning enough to consider hospital admission, but turned the corner shortly thereafter (it's pretty handy to live in a doctor community where a friend has a portable pulse oximeter handy). We skipped our classes that day, Scott took the other kids into Nairobi for some fun, and Caleb and I had some down time for recovery. I am SO THANKFUL his illness hit exactly on our visit weekend for fast recognition, diagnosis, and treatment.
Messages from students back home in Bundi, concerns about team mates whom we have asked to do a lot, thinking ahead of what faces us on return and through 2010. Travel arrangements for Luke, invited to interview at a small engineering school where he applied for college, sending our just-17 year-old alone from Kenya to Boston for a weekend at the end of the month.
Pulled: medicine, a world of data and learning, kids, relationships we value, the impending launch of one son to American life in university, the whisper of ever-present risk as God heals another serious family illness, glimpses of the future with new team and even potential-team, responsibility for those we love back in Bundi, bigger perspective as we encounter people from dozens of countries doing hundreds of good things. Releasing a grip on the future, and walking by faith for the day.