The Divine Physician is running late - again.
The point is that Rich and I are still waiting and we are feeling a little....antsy. We are still at peace and hopeful and all the rest (blah, blah, blah) but we're just restless. Rich has applied for openings at some really exciting jobs in some really exciting places - from Oregon to Maine, from Texas to Missouri, from Florida to Kansas (Kiwis - looking these places up on a map could keep you busy for while! Americans, maybe you too! [Or should I be ashamed to admit that it did for me????]) Rich is very excited about the prospect of possibly moving to places with New-Zealand-like climates (or warmer!) and New-Zealand-like beach access. I, on the other hand, will die if I don't see snow this winter. And I have successfully brain-washed Maria into believing the same. I know snow means nothing to my husband, but I'm astonished that he has failed to grasp this simple truth by which I choose to live: the hotter the weather, the bigger the bugs. It does not seem to fill him with an ecstasy of relief that the biggest insects in our house right now are the teensiest little ants you ever did see. After living with enormous cockroaches for two years, I don't even squish these adorable little ants. I just smile at them kindly and wish them well in their quest for crumbs and point them gently in the direction of the highchair.
I don't know how to articulate that it is possible to feel truly peaceful and at the same time restless, except to say that we are not so much worried about our future as we are eager to get cracking. I think poor Richard has had his fill of domestic life - and "domestic life" is ready to put down an anchor and settle into some serious routines. Floating and drifting was fun for a while, but we both feel a little directionless now. We're eager to know what it is that the Lord has planned here. We're quite sure that He has a plan, but we're begging for a little teensy tiny hint. I sort of knew before we left New Zealand that the Lord was going to leave us guessing until the Very Last Minute (because that was His preferred pattern over the entire mission period). I must have said it a million times. But I thought that the Very Last Minute was going to occur somewhere around the third of June. It's more than a month past my definition of "The Very Last Minute", so I can only presume that He is stretching my understanding of the concept of "Last Minute" - in addition to some other bits that needed to be stretched.
Nothing is wasted with God. He is always extravagant but never wasteful. Therefore, this extended period of rest and uncertainty has a purpose. Many purposes, I presume. So the mission in which we're currently immersed is trying to figure out what He's teaching us here - and to be good pupils. I think until this week I had been looking at this season as a such a fleeting and transitory one that it could just be lived any old way. This week it's starting to dawn on me that there is no such thing as a snippet of time (no matter how short) that ought to be lived just any old way. Each day is a gift, and each day needs to be lived as a gift and given back to the Giver.
If I could possibly set aside my impatience to feel some sort of "stability and security" take hold, the gift of these days would not be so lost on me. I am happy. I mean seriously joyful - all day long, just filled with deep and satisfying J-O-Y over very small things. Having so much more time with Rich has been so awesome for us as a married couple. Having so much more time in general has been awesome for me as a mother. I feel like a calmer, more attentive and more intentional parent than I have for two years, and I'm enjoying the littlest things about my children more. For example, every day after Mass this week, Bernadette has asked me to drive past Fr. Friedhelm's house. She never requested this favor the whole time we lived in New Zealand. Now she asks every day. It's driving Maria insane as she repeatedly explains that Fr. Friedhelm does not live in Pennsylvania. Bernadette is unconvinced, even by Maria's most exasperated, animated, frustrated tirades about airplanes and international moves. This conversation replays every morning during the 3 minute drive home, and it cracks me up every time. I don;t even participate, I just listen. I actually think Bernadette knows that Fr. Friedhelm is in New Zealand - I think she is just enjoying her ability to calmly drive Maria so berserk. And each night, Joseph wakes up from a sound sleep somewhere between the hours of 11pm and 2am and he happily begins singing ALLELUIA!!!! as loudly and as joyfully as he possibly can - for about a half hour. If he goes on too long, Rich and I just push his crib out of our bedroom and into the kitchen, but I'm laughing the whole way. And then there are the sounds of the (American) birds singing loudly first thing upon waking and the sounds of the (American) bugs singing loudly as the last thing I hear before sleeping. It's all the little things that I'm enjoying so much. And when bugs make you this happy, you know you're in pretty good mental space.