Sometimes I wonder if we have that mark of Cain that is mysteriously mentioned in Genesis, that people see and then bless us in spite of our failings. One of our friends and supporters generously bought us tickets to come to Caleb's Ranger Graduation. Our colleagues gave us their blessing to miss a week. A person we have not yet even met offered us an AirBnB to stay in, with my mom, sister, Jack, Julia, and one of their friends from Duke, only a few miles away from the Army base. Our family drove umpteen miles and hours to be here. And everyone kept it a surprise. So that Thursday, at 2 in the morning, we pulled into Fort Benning. A few hours later we were waiting with the other families by the gate where the soon-to-graduate soldiers would be released. Caleb was expecting a room mate to meet him; when he saw us we all cried, hugged, laughed, and rejoiced. That is a moment, and a week, we will long remember.
From Friday evening to Tuesday night, we drove about 2000 miles. Yikes. Up to West Virginia to our farm, where Luke, who had missed the graduation, was able to meet us for 36 hours off of his surgery rotation. Hikes, swimming in the river, wild flowers, spring breeze, warm hugs at church, more grilling, firing the pizza oven, cakes, food, food, food, and rest. Then we drove back to Durham to hang out with Julia and Jack one more time, in the middle of their exam week, again blessed by friends who gave us dinner and a place to stay. Then a brief stop in Charlotte to connect with my family again, and back to Fort Benning, to the same kindness of the Air BnB cottage and sunshine and a pause to breathe. Caleb starts his 3-week Airborne course on Friday and we leave that day to fly back to Kenya.