As we heard a little voice at 5am this morning asking for breakfast, my mind did quickly flicker with the question of whether our UK visit was worth the sleep-stealing cost that jet lag inevitably brings. At least it was 5am rather than the 4am of yesterday, when it was the adults in the house who were feeling like the day should begin.
Long haul travelling with two little people and a lot of baggage (which did eventually make it to Chicago having had an unexpected overnight stay in Heathrow!) is tiring. But our trip to England over the last two weeks was undoubtedly worth the effort.
Having wondered whether we were going back too soon, and whether my heart could take the emotional battering of remembering how far we live from people I love, I was anxious in anticipation. While there were tearful goodbyes, there were also many precious moments with favourite people. We want to work hard to strengthen and build relationships, even with an ocean between us, and spending some time – even if it’s a few hours en route somewhere else – is so valuable. For grandparents to hear the giggles and to enjoy the cuddles, for cousins to connect with such ease, for honest, caring conversation with dear friends and to continue to be a part of book and ministry things over there, as well as here. A fruitful, if exhausting, visit.
Both Jonathan and I boarded the plane back to Chicago with heavy hearts as, with feet on English ground surrounded by familiar ways and people, life over there can feel easier than over here. But then as the flight path progressed, and as thoughts turned to all that is in full flow in America, I think our hearts lightened. And as we walked into our home, it was with thankfulness and a sense of relief. We do enjoy life here, even though it can sometimes feel hard to navigate new ways and establish fresh relationships. We are excited for all that is to come, while also wishing there was a moment for some stopping and sleep before the onslaught of demands of a fledgling business and ministry.
Billy is frequently heard tagging sentences with the refrain ‘in my home’, as he points to things he sees in a shop or somewhere that we also have in our house. Today it was pizza, yesterday it was a book…and it’s said with a constant sense of surprise. Surprise that we echo, I think, as we realise that we do feel at home here. And that we’re thankful for all that God has given us – material, emotional, spiritual – to persevere and enjoy what we have, eager to use it for His glory.