Sitting in a circle with ten women who work cross-culturally and sharing prayer requests, some common late-November themes are how we miss our extended families, how we try to keep up with other workers in our countries or areas, how we are asked for help a dozen times a day, how we juggle kids' needs for structure and for freedom, for attention and for independence, how we value our friends from earlier phases of life and our new friends in our communities now, how we want holidays to be both familiar and fresh, meaningful and fun, how we bear the concern for health of distant parents and grandparents and nearby neighbours and friends, how our work takes us into contact with one language group or another cultural niche. As we prayed for each other, the word that came to me was fragmentation. Truthfully telling God that we feel fragmented. Our hearts stretch, our capacities stretch, and it feels like too much. I prayed for a centering reality, for that solid rock of rest that allows the fragments to fall into place.
And a few minutes later, my colleague Anna prayed that as those fragments arranged, they would become a mosaic.
Not just a manageable pile, a work of art.
What a hopeful and true picture of life. Not that we won't break but that our pieces will be curated by the Spirit to tell a story, to depict a truth, to draw our hearts to beauty. As November draws to a close, that seems to be a faith-aspiring way to see our days. A mosaic of broken pieces whose fit into the big picture we only rarely understand.
So here are some pieces from the week, in a few sentences and a string of photos. Our DRC team visited, for a festive Thanksgiving meal, a pizza party, prayer times and meetings, walks and talks, sharing lives. We spent hours in extra team "finance committee" meetings sorting through our 2023 reports, finding problems, looking for solutions. We visited a dear friend who is chronically ill, another about to deliver a baby, another who we just haven't seen for a while. We wrapped up final chapels and cell groups and leadership meetings with the school, working on contracts and budgets. We listened to testimonies from graduating seniors who spoke about finding a home at CSB, about getting second chances, about choosing faithfulness. We (royal we, mostly Scott) fixed broken things, cleaned gutters, mowed grass. We had to suspend a drunk guard and rearrange plans a dozen times. Do some consults and brainstorm how to stretch dollars. All in a week's work, all fragments with their own colour and texture, and all parts of the new story God is writing here and in us.