Thursday, August 11, 2016


On the 4th of July, our family went to the annual parade with our guest, D, who was staying with us for the summer. He had never celebrated the 4th in the US and all of our traditions became more meaningful to us as we shared them with him. At the parade, the kids caught candy, trinkets, pencils and popsicles. Leaving the parade, D had a bracelet on his wrist that he hadn't had earlier. The cloth band had the acrostic "P.U.S.H". He wore the bracelet almost the entire length of his stay with us.

At the pool a few weeks later, I mentioned this to my friend. "What does P.U.S.H mean?" I asked. I wasn't even sure who had thrown it during the parade route. Republicans? Democrats? Karate group? Who knew. After googling results, my friend read results aloud: Pressure Ulcer Scale for Healing-- no. Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (UK), unlikely. "Pray until something happens":yes.

In almost every picture of him, he's wearing that bracelet. I'm not sure as he knows what it stands for-- whether it just reminds him of attending the parade together that day, or he likes the look or feel of it. I don't know.

Tonight a friend handed me a bracelet of my own, with the simple word "hope" on it. It ties into the meaning of D's bracelet. I have hope that good things are ahead for him, that God has put something on our hearts for a reason, that so many people who care about him are going to accomplish great things.

As I wear my bracelet tonight, I wonder if he is still wearing his too.

"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,"

Emily Dickinson

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A hard "see you later"

Our guest left on Sunday and it was so very hard. The morning was teary before we left, the ride to O'Hare was subdued, but okay. It was after he got in line to check his bag that something I had never experienced before rose up in me. I know we promised his country that we would send him back, but in that moment, I didn't know if I could physically let him go.

The "see you later" at the airport was so hard-- difficult enough that people actually stared. On the ride home Sam and Em were pretty emotional, while Brenna remained stoic and asked when we could stop for a treat. Oh, the levity she lends to every situation ;) It felt like someone had died when we went into the boys' room and saw the empty bed, when I found a stray sock of his in the laundry, when I saw his containers of applesauce in the refrigerator, his bananas on the counter that totally gross out Sam. I actually found myself listening to his national anthem on Youtube during my morning walk, which felt pitiful to do, but made me feel better somehow.

And yet, God is at work in this. Oh, is He ever. We are being stretched and grown in faith and trust in a way we have never experienced before as we follow into unfamiliar territory. There is a new sense of gratitude for time together, for the little things we enjoy, for getting to have an amazing summer with him. We are hopeful that our guest can return to spend December with us and until then, we pray over him with a new fervor. Will you pray for him too?