Sunday, December 21, 2014

You CAN Go Home Again...

but you'll be changed.

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I anticipated this. I knew it may happen. It does not make me sad. It makes life real.

I joyfully picked up our oldest Friday afternoon from Indianapolis International Airport, hugged and kissed her sweet little ginger head, had lunch with my parents, sister-in-law and niece and nephews, and started the long drive home.

It's not lengthy...but it was quiet.

My introvert who has had her comfortable, suburban world jolted by the reality of a broken and often hopeless one, needed time to decompress. My usual tactic of pummelling my children with questions until they open up was not appropriate, I had perceived as much.

At some point in the journey I must have asked the right question and the conversation flowed more easily. It has increasingly done so over the last two days...yet, there's one significant change that I have noticed: 

She's no longer set off by the small things that used to light her fuse.

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While I knew maturity would arrive swiftly for an 18 year old (now 19 year old) who's sacrificing comfort and the "norm" for a woman of her tender age, I wasn't prepared for the "untroubledness" of her maturity.

I was fully prepared to avoid her triggers. We all have them. In families we learn to step around them to keep the peace. When I've asked about laundry, food choices, and plans for each day, I think I'm no longer perceived as a nag...but she understands that my genuine concern for her is manifested in the little things.

What I've been asking myself for the last 48+ hours though are questions of myself that I think each Christian should delve into and accompanied by the Holy Spirit, grapple with and mold into our being and modus operandi for daily life:

What can cause us to abandon our priorities?
What can help us not to sweat the "small stuff"?
What must happen for me to put into perspective the minutiae of life?
What changes inside a perfectionist to bring them more calm, peace and joy?

The answer is simple...yet profound...

Love!

It may have been long-distance, but I have seen this beauty fall in love with a city, a neighborhood, a school and the children inside of it. She has talked with prostitutes, shared meals with feeble grandmothers in her new home, made pies and candy for her neighbors, taught children to sing and draw and enjoyed a birthday "cake" made from playground mulch accompanied by a preschool-pitched chorus of "Happy Birthday Miss Abbey".

She has also learned the humility of poverty and dependence upon others. She has found pleasure in the simple things like a free, reconditioned bike, local taco stands and new friends that quickly become family.

She has found new outrage inside of herself. While others her age are frustrated with the latest iPhone update or that their favorite cafe' no longer carries their preferred mocha, she has discovered fury over racism, injustice, deep poverty, and the desperation that drives people to merely survive instead of thrive.

She has found her Voice...and it is a melody of grace.