One of the nicknames of my hometown, which I have returned to, is The Big O! (With the exclamation mark, thankyouverymuch.) One whole week has passed since we began our Big New Life in the United States of America. I have come full circle. Getting re-acquainted with the place where DaRonn and I grew up has been fun. Showing the kids around and introducing them to Stateside life has been interesting. Adjusting to the new unspoken expectations has been rough.
We have noted that people in the U.S. compared to people in Bolivia:
Worry about safety a ton more – seat belts, mandatory car insurance, car seats, a disinfection wipes station for the shopping carts at the front of the store, and a very visible presence of well-equipped law enforcement officers all around town, just to name a few.
Have so many more options – huge menus, restaurants everywhere, shops full of shelves full of varieties of every type of thing you could want to buy, channels on tv and on the radio, religious expressions, styles, and employment for a wide range of ages and abilities.
Are SUPER generous with their resources – thrifts shops, homeless shelters, relief aid programs, free stuff on curb-sides and craig’s list, abundance of donations of VERY nice things from perfect strangers, sales and clearance items, and volunteering of their time, not to mention so many gifts of brand new things.
The Midwest is S…P…R…E…A…D… O…U…T.
The land sprawls. The ribbon of roads and highways stretch long and wide. The spaces between dwellings feel vast. The immense forests and parks preserved in these borders make me swell with pride.
At first when I began maneuvering in this spread out place I thought of all the space as wasted. My thoughts stopped short. I remembered the reoccurring theme for this season of my life. No, this is not waste, this is healthy. I am regaining the margins which I allowed to be eaten away over time. The corrosion of busy-ness crept in, cramming out breathing room. Reparation begins with the creation of margins.
Margins. Yes, I am letting the margins grow once again.
Margins of time. Margins of space.
Margins for thought. Margins for belief. Margins for health.
Margins to tend my garden. Margins to be still. Margins to breathe.
Margins which allow me to fall in step with the unforced rhythms of grace.
Margins which enable me to be kind, gentle, and faithful.
Margins which suck me down into the plushy, over-sized, purple swivel lounge chair and swallow me up for spontaneous sessions of solace.
The Big O!
Oh! I had almost forgotten what a livable life looked like.
Oh! There is hope for restoration.
Oh! My God, my Emmanuel, thank you…
For a long while I hung my head in shame assuming that God was removing us from our “post” in Bolivia as a punishment for misbehaving. Maybe there is some truth to that, but I think my thinking was skewed. More and more, as I watch this transition unfold, I think He removed us to demonstrate His Goodness and Grace.
This evening I watched my precious nephew wriggle and wrestle and resist the sleep his weary toddler body needed. His mama wrapped him up and rocked and rocked; he finally fell asleep. I smile now as I think about God watching me over the past few years fight and fuss against the rest He knew I needed. Submission to this season came slowly. I am grateful as I look back and see God’s patience with me as He pulled me closer and closer to Him. My, how I pushed against those arms! My, how He rocked my world! Finally I fell…