Life is not perfect. This is a reality that sometimes gets blurred by social media cultivation and hidden struggles, but it’s true. There are bright, beautiful parts to most seasons of life, accompanied by darker, harder experiences. I recently asked Jeff, who has one of the most interesting, blessed lives I know of, if he could recall a period of time when everything in his life was great. He couldn’t, because even when life is great, there are still rought parts.
Right now, life is so good. Coming off of an amazing summer, our return to Santiago went smoothly and we are continuing to enjoy so much about our life here. But the shadowing to those bright realities is important. Summer was amazing; it was also a time of continued spiritual struggle for me, where I wondered daily if this Jesus story was even real. Our return to Santiago did go well; but we were still a little heartbroken to be back, so far from our family and friends in the USA. I also forgot JUST how teeny our apartment is, so that was a little bit of a shock after living the high life at Ruth’s little house in Boulder. And we do continue to enjoy a lot about life here: Jeff’s mountain biking habit is full throttle and he’s riding better than he ever has, which makes him genuinely happy. I have wonderful friends to pray and swap parenting strategies with and a fantastic book club that always reminds me how good it feels to belly laugh. And Rayna has blossomed into this social toddler who waves ‘hola’ to anyone who can catch her eye on the street and loves going to see ‘amigos’, especially on the bike. Every day, she asks if she can talk to Oma or Grandpa (and even thought it might be fun to Skype Woody from Toy Story last week), and we recently discovered how awesome Daniel the Tiger is. I also found a preschool where she will start later this month, and while it feels a little bit like I’m sending my baby off to language school, I know she will love it.
But we are still, it seems, in a challenging transitional time. The weather has been fall like at times, but that’s a trick as we are actually in spring on our way to a hot holiday season. We still miss our families and friends and the conveniences of living the USA, while I struggle with being a ‘house manager’ (though fortunately, the momming part of that job has been going pretty well, if only the cleaning would just do itself!). We haven’t found any kind of rhythm of serving in our church and it feels like we do a lot of thinking/praying about ourselves, when the needs of others are far more pressing. After much thought, we’ve decided to move apartments, which means we’ll be packing again and stressing out about paperwork that we can’t quite understand while trying to get organized so that we have a little more space to host (both local and travelling guests, we want you all at our table, which we don’t own yet!;). We also have to apply for our visas again, which is going OK, but is just about the exact opposite of fun. And we hope to move home next year, which means Jeff is applying for jobs and the shadow of uncertainty is with us all the time.
And the reality is, that’s just life. Lots happening, some good, some hard, but all of it part of the ride. So this morning, I am grateful for all the beauty, all the light. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for our little and big family, and I see the abundance of blessing in so many places. But I appreciate too that this life isn’t perfect; some days my sweet toddler insists on laying down on a busy city side walk and I don’t understand what our landlady wants from us. It’s all part of the story, and it’s all welcome. Have wonderful, messy, blessed week. Love!!!