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Sunday, May 09, 2010

47 years, 23 years, and almost 17 years . . .

47 years ago my mom became a mother . . . . here is an old photo of us taken on her first visit to Uganda (that's 1-year-old Luke in my arms) 16 years ago. As my kids have gone to boarding school, and the first one prepares to launch to university, I can only begin to experience the burden she's carried in our long absences. So a salute to moms, in particular mine and Scott's mom Ruth, who have endured the painful callings of their children to far places and difficult lives, who interject rest and food and encouragement and the occasional not-previously-owned item of clothing whenever they can. Who listen and wait and pick up the pieces when needed, who carry on and do not complain. Hope I can be half as patient in their shoes from here on out. Not likely.
23 years ago today Scott and I were married, in Leesburg, Virginia. In our wedding the congregation prayed for us the Prayer of St Francis, that we would be instruments of God's peace and love. A prayer that is still needed. That was a lovely, perfect day, with beauty and sparkle and sumptuousness that the rest of our life has often lacked. But I would not trade the 23 years in to go back, because they have brought us to a deeper, better, holy place. Grateful.
In 1993, almost 17 years ago now, we arrived in Bundibugyo. Last night our team celebrated "Myhre Appreciation Night" with a Khana-Khazana (best Indian restaurant in the world which happens to exist in Kampala)-rivaling spread, candlelight and flowers, frozen drinks and delectable chicken, fellowship and laughter. And tears, as Karen put together a moving slide show that made me weep for those we've lost (especially photos of Betty and Jonah) but also weep for the wonder of the friendships that God has blessed us with along the way. There were funny speeches and even a puppet show, a Favorite Things song by the Julie Andrews sisters, statistics, and a retelling of our favorite Tale of Despereaux. Brownies and prayer. By 10 pm it was clear to me: we just need to merge the Sudan and Bundibugyo teams and all stay RIGHT HERE and pray-eat-love until Jesus comes back. Sigh.
So it's been a sentimental weekend. In about a week we drive to Kenya on the way to WHM's retreat in Greece, so we've started dismantling our house to pull out a truck-load of the essentials to store there (tents, the checkerboard Caleb made, Easter baskets, power drill, photos never put into albums, that sort of thing). Our physical life has now descended into chaos, even as our emotional life takes daily hits of grief. We'll be back home in June until mid-July, but even that time feels impossibly short for all the cleaning and packing, let alone the really important stuff. Pray for perseverance, clarity, priority, mercy.


Tricia said...

I can't even begin to imagine. May God bless you today and every day. I will keep praying for you and this transition, for all those you are leaving behind, for the things and people God has planned for your future, but mostly that your heart will heal.

Bet said...

Jennifer, Caleb and I have great memories of your wedding! I remember that when your father prayed for you, I thought about how blessed you were to have a father who would pray for you like that (I don't remember the words, but I remember the love and thoughtfulness of it). Happy Anniversary, and may you have MANY more!