Dressed in her pink leggings, my grandchild Lauren Julia danced. Her arms swayed gracefully over her head as she intoned the first few lines of “The First Noel.”
“The First Noel the angels did sing was for certain my teacher gave us our papers …”
In all her glory she continued as Matthew chimed in. Each in turn fed the other their next cue line. Like finely tuned instruments they orchestrated a masterpiece as they laughed and sang in sync making sense out of nonsense on the last night with our boys.
I ran for our camera in hopes of catching the scene on camera, but it was too late. No prompting could reproduce that precious moment.
A short while later, I cleared my throat and, lifted up the oil painting my father had brought back from the Philippines 30 some odd years ago. “And here you have, ladies and gentlemen, I said, “an original oil painting, from the Philippines, smartly matted and framed by Matthew.” Jokingly I auctioned the only remaining keepsake of my father.
“Who will give me, let’s say, –oh, it’s free,” I said. “Who wants it?”
My oldest son Ernesto claimed it.
The next piece was a reprint of Michelangelo’s masterpiece of God giving life to Adam from the Sistine Chapel. (A picture that often caused me to marvel at the wonder of God’s great love and kindness toward us. (See http://scienceandreligion.com/michalan.htm. See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hands_of_God_and_Adam.jpg)
Chris took claim to it.
Third, my only remaining pencil drawings from our early years of Marriage which Matthew had mounted and framed as a Christmas present to me many years back. It was auctioned off at the mere price of a smile.
Earlier in the day while packing, I had reasoned with Matthew why I needed to keep the little rattan booties from when my cousin Terry was expecting their son, Steven. I had already sacrificed the tabletop fountain she had given me before leaving Mexico.
This kind of bargaining had become a regular event over the past four years in missions. Each time, I pled with Matthew to allow me to keep something, he responded softly but sternly, No assisting me to let go of things that will fade away with time. To me, these were all things that a woman needs to make a house a home: family, friends and, remnants of memories.
In some minute, but very real way, a piece of me dies with every trinket or remnant left behind, with each time we forsake family and friends for the greater good. When I pondered the greater scheme of things and the lifestyle of those we served and now go to serve, I am exposed. I am aware, even still, how great is the wealth we possess even still.
And now, as we traveled cross country to deliver a bus donated by Ken and Peggy Vinik to an orphanage in Mexico, in zero degree weather where the heater was virtually unfunctionable the entire first day, I am reminded it is no great sacrifice we have made at all. And, the joy we experience is far greater a treasure than we could acquire here on earth. Amidst the bareness of poverty, wherever it be, Mexico, India, Africa, the Philippines, wherever lives are transformed for the glory of God, where once people whom lacked hope and a future now have found faith, where people are equipped for long-lasting change, to me, this is incomparable, immeasurable. And though I struggle to imagine a home absent my children, my grandchildren (I have one on the way, due in February), friends, family, holiday feasts and the simple comforts of home, once again, my joy is full and I can look forward to the adventure ahead because I am blessed with a godly husband and children who love me. And together, Matthew and I, give glory to a good and faithful God.