Layla, Seamus and I (Geoffrey) landed st SEATAC almost 24 hours ago. I had originally written this to you sitting in the Charlotte airport in a plastic moulded chair. My clothes were smelly, I had eaten a week worth of cafeteria food and needed a shower in the worst way. Maybe you can empathize with that special worn out airport glow that we all earn from time to time. Seamus was drinking a sprite to wash down his bag of gummy bears and Layla dipping into her personal sized hummus container and me...I groaned about having to sit in the very last row against the bathroom wall in the plane. As we boarded, I took the window seat and rationalized putting my desires over my kids preference by reminding them that most nights I slept in the 1950's roll out bed that consumed me as I slept like the way hard shelled tacos are made.
Renee was home recovering from her surgery and is now fully on the mend. I owe a huge debt of thanks for those that came and checked on her this week. It certainly put my mind at ease and I'm sure lifted her spirits. The rest of the family spent a week near Ashville, NC for Pre
Departure Orientation. A week long discussion about all the things TEAM wants us to know before we get on the plane in about 6 weeks. It was a challenge to present ourselves as a family without Renee. There was an enormous gap without her and we couldn't stand it another day to be apart. On the drive back to the airport as the kids snored, I teared up listening to "18 wheels and A Dozen Roses" on satellite radio. A sure sign that it was time to be home.
There have been times when we have been lucky to have delicious food while on the road. This conference week had a very large cafeteria that feeds mostly teens away at summer camp. This guy right here, has had his fill of mixed vegetables, meatloaf and canned mandarin oranges. Seamus on the other hand, is a connoisseur of the cafeteria line and prefers the freedom to "fix his own plate", which rarely has a fruit or vegetable on it.
At the solid advice of a Houston chef and pitmaster I trust, Layla and I skipped the meal line at the conference center one night and hit up Buxton Hall BBQ. Layla and I devoured our food and the meal overall she described as "miraculous" . The collard greens and black eyed peas were so, so tasty and the tang of vinegar on the pork sang a happy delicious song in our mouths. Then a funny thing happened.
Every dad has had this scene play out more than once. It is such a frequent dad thought that you will know how this story ends as soon as I tell you the dialogue.
With messy hands from eating delicious NC whole hog BBQ, I reached for Laylas tea glass and took a sip from the straw.
"Hey, what do you think you're doing?" said Layla. Quickly followed by "that's mine!"
Of course I replied "relax dear, you can share can't you?" After all, who is buying your dinner? As a matter of fact who buys all your dinners? Now that I think of it, I buy everything you need and almost everything you want. Seems to me that is my tea and you are only borrowing it. '
The process of getting to Africa has been an eye opening one. It has shattered the way I look at the world and the relationships that I hold dear. Between Harvey, moving 3 times this year, and all of the beautiful things we have done as a family, my idea of what belongs to me has had serious recalibration. Everything we own still fits into our vehicle for our family of four, and yet I find myself still praying "hey, that's mine" from time to time. He has reminded me by changing our reality that settling for only the tea limits my access to the whole meal. He hasn't just given me a small taste of his goodness, but keeps inviting me to a bigger and bigger serving at the table. One that only requires my brain to tell my heart each day, that it is all His. It always has been, and always will be His to give away. The beautiful part about this whole scenario it that He uses people to do the serving at this meal. Still woven with intricacy into this giving relationship, are others around me that continue to relay the blessing of the Lord to us as we humbly pray and praise all that He has done in us. I am giving up my right to claim me, mine and my for things that simply won't last and have no power to satisfy the expanses of who I am created to be. Instead, I am willing to be bold enough to ask the generous Jesus to care for me the way only God himself can.
If you'd like pray this bold prayer with me. Lord, show me the ways you provide for me. The way you show up when I am in need. The people you've blessed me with. And reveal to me where my stubbornness needs to surrender that material things that keep me from you. Amen