When we left Chile three weeks ago, I was nervous. I had some anxiety about the travel itself but I was more concerned that our crazy summer of trips and visits would turn out to be too much, maybe even awful. I am, it turns out, gallivanting from coast to coast with a 22 month old who has occasionally been called “strong willed”. In each place that we visit, I’m leaning on the help of friends and family, from the minute I arrive at the airport (because let’s be honest, no single human can carry all the luggage a toddler requires) to the second I lay my head down to sleep. And I tend to desperately want to see everyone and do everything, even when naps are needed and snacks are depleted.
But through God’s provision and the kindness of many, we have been doing better than I thought we would. We spent more than a week with family in New York. There were sunny days and fires to sit around at night; the village took care of Rayna and made sure she had a life jacket on when a dip in the lake would’ve been unfortunate. We celebrated birthdays and marriages and family. While we missed our favorites who couldn’t be there, the time spent together on Lake George was as sweet as any I can remember.
The night before we left for Colorado, my phone stopped functioning completely. But it was OK, my patient brother was there to catch us when we landed. Friends were understanding when I admitted we had limits and couldn’t make every planned event. I sat at Ruth’s table and caught up on life, reveling in the fact that I don’t need a map app to find my way around Boulder. And then I spent perfect days in the comfort of a beautiful, chaotic home where Rayna got to experience the joy of siblings and I got to sit in awe of how good old friendship can feel. We celebrated some more, going from brewery to brunch to baseball in the name of love. Josh’s wonderful girlfriend gave me a day off and I lapped up the freedom; but when it was back to mothering, I felt refreshed and so happy to be wandering with my girl.
Then, just like that, we were back at the airport. I was exhausted from choosing to spend a couple of hours catching up with a best friend before an early flight, but I had no complaints. She will have a baby soon and this may be one of the last times that we can talk late into the night like we did when we were 19. That is the kind of night this trip is about, the moments I won’t forget.
In Seattle, another bestie swooped us at the airport and took us to a beautiful park where Rayna played in the sand and I breathed in sea air. We picked up “fresh from Chile” Jeff a little while later and headed up to Anacortes for a couple of great nights with family. As we marked our fifth anniversary, we caught up on life after spending more than 2 weeks apart. Winter in Chile hasn’t been horrible, but with work drama and a too-quiet apartment, we were all so happy to be back together.
Now I find myself looking out over the Cascade Mountains from the gorgeous mountain resort where Jeff is busy with a work conference. We spent the day with part of our Washington family, taking in waterfalls and borrowing mermaids from another kid at the pool. We’ll head to see Grandpa Tim next and finally get to see what all the Eastern Washington Walters hoopla is about.
Perhaps no one deserves all this joy, all this sunshine. But I am soaking it in. Because too many people don’t get to see sunsets and hug their friends. Too many innocent people no longer get to watch their children grow and celebrate their marriages. Hate has led to terrorism; prejudice has led to violence; to much of life pulses with terrible pain.
While I thank God for all the blessings we are experiencing, I also ask him to bring peace and healing to this broken world, and that will require all of us to be willing to be peace and healing in this hard place. It baffles me, how unfair life is. But I pray for better in our country, in our world. I pray that we act in a way that allows Love to win. Because that’s what we can do: pray and love, forgive and love, comfort and love. So that’s me, and that’s us. Love (duh;).