Yes, we are back home and the nest is empty. But at least it is still here! It’s 6 a.m. as I write, and the birds are never late. A choir of chirping birds, some coo-coo clock sounds, and a staccato-like intonation of different species warms your heart and puts a smile on your face. They even make you forget the annoying tree hyrax noise from earlier in the night. (Yes: “Welcome” to anyone who wants to have a hunting safari for tree hyraxes in our back yard. There will be a trophy appropriate to the task!) But this morning, there will be no early breakfast or school bus to catch, as Debbi’s room is empty.
LATER: A morning 3-km walk is still refreshing: no car fumes, lots of smiles as people walk to work. This particular morning, I am treated to marching hoofs of three horses from behind, then beside me for a while, and find myself distracted by the gossip of the middle-aged British women riders. It’s a relief when they gallop away. I begin running as I near home. It is part of “finishing strong,” as I was taught by my personal trainer. But she is not running beside me today; she is at Wheaton College.
We did have a very good time with all our children. Now we can keep up with emails and phone calls. But we are finding out that they are not always at the other end of the line at the agreed-on times. “I was at a football game. I forgot to tell you.” “I meant to change the time.” Or, “please try on Saturday.”
The work did not go away when we left for the U.S. It just piled higher. The responsibilities are many and an increasing challenge will be to know when to stop since school events or taking children here and there are out of the equation. For me, the break might be a walk down to the fish ponds to “lie down in green pastures and beside still waters.” Psalm 23 comes alive as the schools of tilapia make roller-coaster movements, creating waves and bubbles as they rise to the surface to catch insect and food particles, swish around, then disappear into the pond only to resurface again. How refreshing!