I put the countdown on the calendar for great ones so that I can off days and see the count slowly shrink as my anticipation grows.
Sometimes the dark side of emotions start even before the event occurs-the knowledge that the long anticipated time is almost gone.
Our weeks here and Christmas celebration with close family formed good memories tinged with the knowledge that our time together grows short.
[A strange visit this year due to trying to keep folks healthy, so very limited travel and visits with folks]
It takes a lot of emotional and mental energy to stay in the present, to stay actively engaged, to enjoy the moments we have yet together and not isolate to try to contain and ignore some of the hard sad feelings.
The privilege of loving folks in this world is sharing the possitive with the negative.
We got to help my mom decorate for Christmas and we get to help her take down and pack away the cheerful decorations-a job she doesn't like to do by herself.
I've prayed extra for the international college students and their families in the last few weeks knowing how hard it is to be apart from family during important holidays.
I can't say how blessed we feel that the Lord allowed us to spend time together with Eli every year since he started college.
Something I never dreamed would be possible.
Yesterday we started and completed around 80% of our packing to head back to Haiti next week.
We've also been unpacking some memories with our older kids...exploring, remembering, poking some of those old memories, the good ones and the ones that still hurt.
So thankful we can do this together in person, the touch of a hand, a long strong hug, seeing the twinkle in a teasing eye or subtle lift of an eyebrow.
We work on the mundain items on the to-do list while Eli is at work so that when he gets back after 4 p.m. we can enjoy our family time.
Anna will be moving back to Calvin after dropping us off at the airport next week. Please be praying for all of us.
That we can feel the feelings, the whole range.
That we can deal with the negative feelings in healthy ways, carrying our hurts to the Lord and each other for comfort.
We don't know when the five of us will be together again.
We are so thankful for the technology that allows us to stay connected.
Thankful that we remain close despite the distance we live apart.