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In just three days I’ll be on a plane, headed for Puerto Rico.
This is totally unexpected.
Every year, groups of students from our church head out on mission trips with World Changers. And every year, I am The Mom, sending one or two or more of my teenaged kids out into the world to work, to serve, to experience the world – and to be changed.
(That would be Parenting Tip #2 – SEND YOUR KIDS ON MISSION TRIPS. Better than any other summer experience, in my opinion.)
Anyway, this year was no different. The trip leader did approach me when the destination was revealed; knowing that I had a bit of history in the Caribbean region (I lived for three years in the Dominican Republic in the mid 80’s). He thought I’d be interested in going, and thought my Spanish – whatever rusty bits and pieces remained – might be helpful.
I thought about it and prayed about it and didn’t feel like it was the right time. I said “No. Thanks. But no.”
Sydni signed up for the trip; Daniel did not.
Pre-trip planning went on as usual, with a workday and fundraising and prayer requests and other stuff. And I played my role as The Mom, gathering info and making sure the calendar was clear.
One of the female chaperones had a medical issue. We hoped and prayed for a complete recovery, but in the end, the doctor would not give her a release. And so there was a vacancy; and on a World Changers trip, it’s mandatory that you provide the chaperones needed for the team.
And so somebody had to take her place.
And so the project coordinator asked again.
And I felt differently, several months later. Much had changed in the time in between.
And so, I said, “Yes. Thanks. Yes.”
And then one of the male students had a conflict and could not go. The project coordinator approached Daniel and asked if he’d like to go.
And so, I’m going to Puerto Rico. With Sydni. AND Daniel.
It’s stirring up so much in me; initially and in the here and now, I’m struggling with the disappointment that I’m sure weighs heavily on my friend who has to stay home. I’m taking her place, when she wanted desperately to go with her daughter. This doesn’t feel good. But somebody has to go, so I’m going.
And the other things I am thinking and feeling; they stem from another lifetime. I’m not sure what to do with that girl who lived on the island next door to Puerto Rico. I have many memories, and they’ve not yet found their place. It’s a longish story, and I’ll likely blog about it at some point; but suffice it to say that there are some things suppressed that I’ve yet to deal with. I know that stepping off the plane, breathing the humid, heavy air, seeing the crisp, crystal blue of the water, the palm trees, the sand, the Spanish everywhere, the food, the aroma, the market…things will rise up in me that I’ll need to find room for. And then breathe.
I just caught a glimpse of some photos of the camp where we’ll be sleeping after working each day, and that’s all it took. I felt it. I remembered.
I’m glad. I’m excited. I’m ready. Something’s coming – something good. But I’m apprehensive.
I walked tonight, fighting through the humid air in the neighborhood next door to get my heart rate up. For the first 15 minutes, I spoke – out loud (yeah, I’m that crazy lady) – all in Spanish. I was talking to an imaginary person in Puerto Rico. And to God.
And I was astounded by how much Spanish I remembered. I had a lengthy imaginary conversation.
I enjoyed it.
Something’s coming. Something good. Even if I’m a bit jacked up.
Puerto Rico, here I come.