Freak Out, the sequel

24 April 2010


That's what's going on in my head right now as I sit paralyzed in this black chair, immobile due to complete distraction, indecision, and ambiguity.

What's the cause of this freak out, this time? We're awaiting some decisions... some decisions that aren't ours, that we thought were already decided, and yet they aren't really. There's this whole "invitation back" thing we're waiting on. It's a thing supposedly everyone has to go through when they leave from full-time work here, back to America, and then hopefully back again. But apparently it's a process that has never really technically been followed through on before. And so, being that there's a first time for everything, we are the first time.

This wouldn't really be such a big deal, except that we've been asking this question, this "Are we invited back?" question for several months. This question has always been met with a nod, an "I don't see why not," an "I'm sure it won't be a problem" type of answer in the past. But in the last few weeks, this question has been met with a "Let's wait and see," or a "We'll discuss it at the meeting," or an "I wouldn't worry about that right now" type of answer.

So can you see the freak out?

Reasonably, logically, I think it's good. They should take their time. And so should we. Let's really discuss things and see how things have worked and come together and make a joint decision affirming the future. Paranoid me sees things slightly differently. I mean, there was affirmation, and then there wasn't and then there was silence. I mean, we're packing up our life here! We're saying goodbye without being able to tell people when/if we'll get back. We have to actually share with our children what our plans are beyond next week. But instead, I'm having to claim this ambiguity once again as my silent partner in crime.

Oh Ambiguity, won't you ever leave?

So today I sit in a slightly chaotic household, a child crying upstairs due to some teething and sleep-deprivation issues. I'm looking at toys and wondering where I should put them: in storage, in a suitcase, in a plastic bag to take to the charity shop. The girl, who has never taken well to change, I worry a bit for. I hate to see the sad, crying child return, who would just roam from packed room to packed room whimpering during our last move. I'm trying to be stable for her, keep things as normal as possible, when inside I feel the anxiety rising in my chest and causing me actual physical pain.

Do we have any alcohol in the house? Or maybe an inhaler?

I need a chance to breath and believe it'll all be OK.

Ok, back to reason and logic. Looking back at this blog over the year(s) or so, I see many freak outs and unanswered questions that, in due time, God answered and calmed and provided and settled. He's there in it somewhere, waiting for the freak out to end and faith to begin. Perhaps I'm just not learning this lesson yet. Perhaps there isn't even a lesson. Just the next step in belief.

The wee one still cries. Perhaps he too senses my paralyzed state of ambiguity and anxiety. Can probably taste it in the breast milk or feel it in my biceps when I carry him around the house. The girl, though, for now, appears oblivious. Guessing I should just sit still then, and wait, and relax... nothing has to be packed or done just yet.

6 weeks till D-Day.


Death Overseas

21 April 2010

As we were preparing to move to Europe, we were told to expect to miss out on certain life events among our families and close friends. Weddings, births, deaths... things that signal that life does indeed go on, even if we're not there to share in it. So, we've missed attending a few weddings, didn't get to see some new little family members born, and now we've been unable to say goodbye to a patriarch.

The husband's maternal grandfather died last week. It wasn't altogether unexpected. He was sick, and progressively getting weaker, and for years we felt like every goodbye might be the last. We were sad, to be sure, but we were OK. Because he was no longer tired, weak, frustrated... he was fully alive, whole, perfected! This tricky dichotomy of being Christ-followers whose only true home is with Him above, but still ache at the leaving, the homegoing, the departing of a loved one who was always there.

Husband was a real trouper. But as funeral day came, melancholy set upon our household. Random tears were shed throughout the day. Phone calls home were planned, and then cancelled, and then hastily made only to leave a message for an empty house across the sea. It was hard to be away, to not be able to hug Mom, or comfort Sister, or sit by Grandma. It was hard to not be there, to not say a few words, to not appreciate a day for family and memories.

My man, who is slightly unfamiliar with open vulnerability, couldn't really hide all those hard things from me, here where it's just us and our little family. I think maybe it was good to share it - the few tears and the short silences - with only eachother, but still...

...To be with family, even if just to say goodbye, would lessen the heartache... and increase the joy found in a life well-lived, and a man who now is Home.

Anyone want a used bandage?

05 April 2010

It's happening again. That feeling I get as we edge closer to another move. Panic mixed with sadness, fear, exhaustion and worry. Another house to organize, pack up, clean, and leave. Clothes and toys and furniture to store, sell, or give away. Plane tickets to be bought. Lodging to be secured. Vehicle to be found. Schools to be left or enrolled. I'm not happy about it. I hate this part. The constant tearing off the bandage only to open new wounds, let them heal over, and then rip off the bandage again.

This time, we think we're coming back. We hope we're coming back. We don't know for sure. No one seems to know for sure. But the plan is, currently, to come back, though that doesn't even take into account the support we need to even get back. That will be a miracle in itself. But if or when we do come back, the plan is to stay longer than two years. The uprooting-our-family-every-24-months routine is getting old.

But before then, the leaving. The house is a hodgepodge of junk, ours and the landlord's. Move our stuff out, his stuff back in, and try to undo the damage Ella has done to every wall in the place, prepping for new people. A house that was never ours.

The task of sorting and throwing out is about to get brutal and ruthless. I gotta grab this move by the horns and tell it whose boss.


Kickin' it old school

03 April 2010

As we prep for another international move (even a temporary one), I face saying goodbye to some things that I like to keep near. One item(s): family photos. As Matt and I grew into adulthood, film was replaced by digital files. So there's a stack of photo albums of our families, our courtship, and our young married life in Chicago that I'll be leaving behind for awhile.

In an effort to "take" some of them with me, so begin the posts of old-school pics. In this segment: The Man & Me (formerly known as Tico & The Chick), the early years.