to call the way I got clean tonight a "shower" would be too generous, I think. There was that moment, watching the drops dribble from the sad showerhead when I found myself debating, thinking: "okay, I need to commit one way or another" and then: "wait, what if the lights go out while I am in here?" and then: "I am so desperate, this has got to be better than nothing". There was water of course and man, was it frigid - the kind of cold that makes you gasp like a baby who got swung too high in the air and jumped in reflex - but to call it much more than that - water - would really just be an insult to showers everywhere. This whole island is surrounded on all sides by water for as far as you can possibly, humanly see but you can't drink it, can't bathe in it, and everything in my world smells like mosquito spray, hand sanitizer and baby pee. So bizarre. This whole country is a mystery of contradictions to me. Nevertheless, we will fall asleep under the fans with the whole day washed away before we wake to roosters, fresh coffee and canned milk, car horns and Creole songs in the street again tomorrow morning. This short trip has been an oasis in the desert for me and Andrew, kooky and foreign though this all is. There is nothing normal in our world right now, nothing remotely American about the life we lead while we are here, but it is like ice water after a day at the beach - we've been so parched and we are drinking it in.
Today's joy arrived around in unruly waves. Quickly, our daughter warmed up to us and once warm became absolutely entwined with us. Upon deciding she would give us a chance this morning, she swiftly settled on my lap, snuggled herself in, tilted her head back to see into my eyes, melted like milk chocolate in a hot pan, and just gave in. She spent today coloring, swinging, snacking, stickering, climbing and playing while we merrily tagged along. When she had us by the hand or was in our arms, she was radiant as sunshine; when we left amid waves goodbye, blown kisses and "I love you's" for mealtimes (as is the rule), she receded like low tide, briskly but imperceptibly finding her rhythm in the mass of little ones again like she'd never been out of the pack. This is all very good for the time being of course...we will be leaving and the point of us even being here is merely to be with her and let our hearts get spilled out...but the waves of belonging, of how right it is to be together, of love, of healing and of hope switch to waves of resignation all too soon. She is the sweetest, sweetest, sweetest thing. Every ounce of us yearns to bring her home.
That swell of anticipation, the crash of embracing and the splash of adoration...followed by a departure from each other feels like standing on the shore at low tide, wondering where the water went. The tide will be high again, but you must wait.
Have you heard that song, "Oceans" by Hillsong United? If so, you know the one. If you have been in my world much you know these last few months that song has been my heart's anthem, mostly sung through tears and often through rage. "Your grace abounds in deepest waters, Your sovereign hand will be my guide..." Never truer, never more deeply known than here and now.
All of your prayers make this bearable, all of them precious and valuable to us - all your messages and emails and texts such life-breathing sweetness to us.
We love you all - thank you for being in this with us