A part of the bigger picture at play is the relationship between my sister and me (see! here I am wondering if it’s me or I, like I mentioned yesterday).
Since the end of June, my sister and I, and our children (my four year old and 21 month old, and her 21 month old), and my brother-in-law and other various relatives (aunts, cousins, close friends), and my husband on two visits, have been living together in our childhood home. This sort of living situation is not for the faint of heart, let me tell you! It’s been stressful and beautiful, fun and crazy, annoying and lovely.
But through it all, my sister and I have been forced to deal with our conflict, and, as a byproduct, we have grown much closer than ever before. And that is something my Mom would’ve loved. She didn’t plan to get sick and die, but I know her heart for our lives and our relationship was that we would grow to become close friends, and not just sisters.
“Down, down, down,” my twenty-one month old commands as she reaches up to me from where she’s standing at my feet. Confused about up and down but knowing it produces one of the two, she clutches her beloved Hippo lovey and soaks up my embrace when I finally lift her up.
She just wanted to be held.
Reading the lyrics to some hymns I had just sung at church that morning, I start to cry and my Mom reaches out for me to be embraced by her. She had regained some strength those past few days and was able to wrap her arms around me and hug me as I cried.
I was grateful to be held.
She told me she held debates with God at night when she couldn’t sleep. They ended favourably each time, with amicable feelings continuing to grow. She was ready for Him to pick her up. To take her home. To lead her into her heavenly home.
She was ready to be held.
My Mom created a community. It became a combination of puppeteers, musicians, potters, neighbours, friends and family. She was a calm force in the midst of it and was 100% unaware and unbelieving of how vital and life-giving her presence was in our lives. She was smart, funny, thoughtful and was such a night owl that I knew I could not only Skype her from Thailand while I ate breakfast, but also while we ate lunch (if we really wanted to).
Sometimes the things we create are done with purpose and sometimes the lives we live creates something special without us actively trying. Mom’s life did both. She wanted unity in our family (and especially between my sister and me), but she also opened up pathways for deeper connections between her friends and her daughters that was like a by-product of how she lived her life.
I am not the sort of person who naturally wants to live an extremely spontaneous life. I like schedules and plans. I like to know what to expect. I like to prepare.
And yet God called me to be a missionary and to live in Thailand and to have a Thai husband and to be a Mom.
He called me to live outside of my comfort zone to the nth degree.
And while I like having schedules I can depend on, the only thing I can really depend on is that life will not be predictable. And the only One I can depend on is totally trustworthy and yet I struggle to trust Him as life throws me unexpected balls (or bomb) that I have to try to catch or avoid.