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I returned from vacation a few days ago. I left one home and returned to another. Sometimes this is a smooth transition; this time it was not.
The last 10 days have been full of power issues, water issues, pet sickness, children's sickness, transition stress, the rocky start of a new homeschool year and dealing with a child's new allergy. And that's just the stuff going on inside my house. Outside, there is the usual sweltering heat and humidity (oh wait, those are inside, too!), noise (yep, and so is the noise), protests, poverty. I've been stressed, to say the least.
But this "curse" of the difficulty of living in Haiti is also its greatest blessing, as the last 10 days have also been full of friendship and community, commiseration and support. My family and my friends have prayed for me, emailed me, shared words of advice, and let me vent. And my desperate prayers of "help me" and "God, I can't do this on my own" are being answered.
I've been digging into my the book of Romans this week and the Lord, always faithful, is comforting me, encouraging me to hand over those worries that I'm desperately clutching like prize possessions.
Today? The problems are still there, but surrounded by grace and love, today they are less overwhelming.
I'll never be one of those missionaries who never shows their vacation photos online, fearful that their supporters will drop them like a hot rock.
Because when you live in a really hard place, you need easy sometimes. Because when you are used to heat, cool is unbelievably refreshing. Because when you are used to dust and dirt, concrete walls, and smoke billowing through your house from your neighbor burning his trash, nature is a balm to the soul. Because when you end your days at 8:30pm so exhausted that you rarely have real quality time with your husband, the gift of being alone together on a canoe in the middle of a mountain lake and sharing deep conversation is precious. Because when you are used to being irritated with mosquito bites, dripping from the humidity and stressed, well, all the time... some chill down time with your kids to help them learn to ride a bike - in a beautiful setting, to boot - is pretty unbelievable. Because when all of the above and more combine to make you wonder if the core of who you are is still really there, or if you really have just permanently become this exhausted, dripping, conversation-starved, irritated, stressed person... finding that you aren't brings a sweet sigh of relief. Vacation is good, friends.