And yet

Chinese New Year is here, a red and yellow carpet rolled out over the city. The boxes of treats piled high in supermarkets, the plum blossom branches and orange trees, the lanterns, the gaity--it's all so festive. This year I've approached it with mixed feelings, knowing it's our last one here. Our last New Year's fair, our last lai see packets, our last lion and dragon dances.  

It echoes all the topsy-turvy feelings we have about this coming year in general. Yes, we are choosing to return home--it's a decision we've talked and prayed over ad nauseam. It's clearly what we want. And yet--and yet. There are people and aspects of life here that are so hard to leave. This is where I've learned to be a mother--what will it be like in another culture, another climate? What will it be like when winter is not just a pretty picture in a book, but a blowing, freezing, icing reality

What will it be like when we can't just go hiking on an outlying island whenever we want? Or go dig in a garden in January (yes! We have a little plot now at Matt's school!), or buy entire spools of ribbon for $10 HK each, or simply walk down the street and find anything we need, whether it's a bowl of Vietnamese pho or a new pen or fresh mangoes or someone to resole my shoes or fix my eyeglasses? Sometimes the thing that is most clear of all is that never again will our hearts be fully in one place.  

Last Sunday's church service was so good for us. A proper New Year's sermon, it was all about actually doing whatever it is we are called to do, rather than just talk and plan and talk some more. As a mentor of ours from Hanover used to say, "There's nothing like doing it." So it was good encouragement to us to keep saying yes, keep moving towards the vision we have, a vision we believe is from God. Keep working, keep going. 

And then we sang the final song--"One more step along the world I go"--a favorite song of Ruth Ives, the woman who helped found The Carpenter's Boatshop, and from whom Willa got her middle name. We sang that song, holding dear Willa Ruth in our arms, remembering a woman who wasn't ever afraid to act or to start or to try, and who in so doing changed many lives. With choked voices, we committed again to following this dream, to stepping into the unknown, trusting that God has gone before us and will go with us. 

Give me courage when the world is rough, 
keep me loving though the world is tough; 
leap and sing in all I do, 
keep me traveling along with you: 

and it's from the old I travel to the new, 
keep me traveling along with you. 


ptreesha said...

I love your posts!!

Lauren Jackson said...

I'm so thankful for your blog. It so often brings tears of joy and remembering--like when I scrolled down to those spools of ribbon. Thanks, too, for your eloquent reminders of God's ways of caring for us.