Maybe it’s because clichés resonate with me…maybe it’s because I typically remember there is an upside to most situations…whatever the reason, I stood in our kitchen last weekend, looked at Jeff and said, “It’s ok honey, we are fighting the good fight.” Really, I said that. He looked at me incredulously and simply replied, “What fight? What good fight?”.
What fight indeed. In that particular moment, we were battling with a kitchen appliance. We bought a new stove for our apartment (a normal part of renting in chile) and were terrified to use it. The stove has old technology and a gas line, which weren’t complicated. It also gave off an odd smell and didn’t have a temperature gauge, which led Jeff to fear it would just burst into flames when it got too hot. This sounds so trivial, but when you’re tired from a day of moving and just want to cook the lasagna a sweet friend dropped off, the situation felt a bit desperate. As we went back and forth over the pros and cons of trying to cook the lasagna, frustrations about life in Santiago overflowed and we questioned again what we are doing here.
We’re also battling the terrible twos, which have been especially tough because our kiddo keeps getting sick. We know it’s normal when kids start pre-school and it’s basically a rite of passage here in Chile, but it still sucks. At the moment, we are enduring our first hospital stay as Rayna contracted something that led her to have a febrile seizure. It’s been a rough couple of days, between rushing to the emergency room, deciphering all the tests and results being reported, and trying not to feel fearful despite being cooped up in a hospital. We are hopeful that Rayna really is fine but they’re keeping us overnight again to run more tests. Our daughter is one of the biggest joys of this life, and we talk often about how thankful we are to be her parents. At the same time, raising a fierce, small human is challenging: she will battle getting dressed, brushing her teeth, and eating a banana all before 8 a.m. While we often are unsure about what the right thing to do is, we are doing our best. Should we hurry up and potty train? How long can we let the pacifier be a part of her life? How do we teach her to stop yelling NO? When will she stop crying at pre-school drop off? These are the things I think about every day. I know it’s our job to help her learn boundaries and understand that sharing and kindness are critical for life, but that is no small task. We are doing it, but some weeks, it feels like we aren’t exactly winning the fight.
This is our life right now. We are doing our best to continue adapting and trying to enjoy the goodness before us. But it continues to be hard. And we continue to get overwhelmed. We are so fortunate to have wonderful people here in Santiago to help us when we are floundering. And as a family, we are strong and supportive of each other (Rayna has even learned that when someone is sick, you don’t ask them to play, you pat their hair). But the combination of working, planning for the future, moving, and now addressing medical problems has been a lot to handle.
I know it’s OK to be negative/admit things are hard/vent. But I hesitate to do it because we chose this. No one forced us to move here and no one is forcing us to stay. We are choosing to engage in this strange journey and praying the benefits are substantial. And we are also hoping that this learning season doesn’t just serve us, but also helps others. I know that may sound disconnected, but that was where my head was at when I was talking about the good fight with Jeff. We’re going through the discomfort and struggle of living abroad in hopes that we will return to the USA more compassionate and more capable to help our communities. And that aim makes it feel worth all the trials.
With all going on in the USA right now, that goal seems even more legitimate. We were rocked by our country’s decision to elect Mr. Trump to the presidency. And though we dread some of the potential consequences of that choice, I am not without hope. Our family is committed to serve God by loving without limit. So many of my friends are ready to fight for equality, sacrifice for those in need, stand up for what is right, and disrupt hate by showing love. And that, my friends, is the good fight.
P.S. I don’t mean to sound casual about the hospitalization scenario, we are thankful for prayers that tests confirm a cause so the doctors know why Rayna’s fever got so extreme. However, Jeff and I both had febrile seizures as babies, so we have the experiences of our parents to give us comfort that she is going to be fine. Love!