This evening I pulled into the driveway of my beautiful white house with black shutters and took in the sight of it. I'd been gone for eight days. It was good to be here.
That was normal.
What wasn't normal was the fact that I arrived to my home this evening via our family Suburban after a two-day journey from Missouri. What should have been was very different. Right now I should be on a Houston-bound plane from Israel with all my LPM co-workers and 90 volunteers. I should be horribly jet lagged and exhausted and looking forward to a sweet reunion with my loved ones.
On Sunday night, May 23, at 11:14, instead of meticulously packing my bags for the Israel trip, I was on the highway in Eufala, Oklahoma, where we received the phone call that Curt's grandma had passed away from the stroke she'd suffered that afternoon. Instead of savoring one last night together in our bed, we pulled into the nearest motel and tried to get a few hours of sleep despite the devastation we were feeling over suddenly losing Grandma and not making it in time to see her. Curtis had planned to head to Missouri with the kids while I was gone anyway, but the spirit of the trip was now to be much different. How dainty our plans are.
It was not a hard decision to go to Missouri with my husband and children rather than go to Israel as planned. It was not a sacrifice. I loved Grandma Dixon very much and it would have been horrible not to be there. I thanked God many times for the privilege of being there, and for letting me be a little part of an amazing family. I was grateful that He never let me step foot on the plane. Plus, I'd been to Israel as a teenager and I'll admit that softened the blow.
What is hard is this moment. My LPM family will be home in a few hours and the reality of what I've missed will set it. The stories. The pictures. The bittersweet we missed you's. The conversation I'll have with my sister asking when she'll be home again. Mom trying to downplay how great the trip was so as not to make me sad. I could already hear it in her voice when she called earlier.
Let me preface this by saying that I'm feeling hormonal and my Bible sat buried under clothes in my suitcase all week. But here is the point I'm trying to make. I feel a little bit wounded. This is the second big work trip that has been canceled by a family emergency. (The first was due to Curtis' surgery in April.) I find myself doubting everything our on calendar. I feel very undependable and I do not like it. I have a big trip planned for September and I wonder if I will ever make it there.
Then the question comes. Who exactly wounded me? No one. This was no one's fault. But God ordained it. And why? Is He trying to tell me something? Is He mad at me? Is He trying to show me how little control I really have over my life?
I don't know the answers but whatever lesson I'm supposed to be learning, I want to learn it. Not just learn it, but graduate summa cum laude, walk the stage with an honor sash around my neck, and be done with it. This paragraph alone shows my maturity, doesn't it?
I need His grace.
The good news is that I still have a plane ticket to Atlanta and a plane ticket to Tel Aviv. Now, to find the time on that fragile calendar.
Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.