This transition process is taking longer than we expected. We still don't have lampshades, we have to borrow my in-laws vacuum almost weekly, and our dining room still doesn't have a working table and chairs - we have to crowed around a small countertop island to eat as a family.
But those are simple things that can easily change in the near future. It's the other stuff that's taking time, the human stuff, the kids crying themselves to sleep because they're thinking and dreaming and missing China stuff. The missing home stuff. And I didn't know what to do.
We can talk about China and their friends, revisite old photographs and some of our favorite memories, and we can talk about all the blessings we've been able to experience since arriving back in the states. But that doesn't seem to help. Not much anyway. So resort to words like, "It will be okay, I promise. You just need time," or, "by this time next year, you'll be feeling much better, I promise." But they're empty. Because really, I have no idea if it will be okay, if things will get better. If they will ever stop missing home.
My optimism, in the end, amounts to nothing.
But then, this morning, my wife sent me a text that convicted and challenged my heart. She was writing to share the news that she'd been featured on a forum that receives close to a million submissions, and she was one of seven people chosen. "It's not a big deal," she wrote, "but it is just a little encouraging. She continued:
It's funny how I am feeling so sad about loss and constantly worried I'll shrivel, but there are spaces of delight here. Just comparing apples and oranges. But getting this photo featured means more than just that. It means there is hope for a Home again. Even if it's hard to believe now.
I loved the way she said that, "there is hope for a Home again. Even if it's hard to believe now" because it reminded me that hope is active.
It is her taking pictures every day, even when she doesn't feel like it because its her and her passion and the best way she knows how way capture life, because soon enough these times will be gone.
It's her working on a home, daily, even when there isn't any more money left or much to do so she rearranges the few pieces of furniture for a second, third, and forth time because that's how she builds a home, little by little, and over time.
It's how she moves towards hope.
Hope is active, optimism passive. Optimism believes things will get better and turn out okay while hope gets off the couch and ensures that they do - even when it's hard to believe that it will.
"There are spaces of delight here", and with hope, those spaces will expand and grow and fill up with memories, laughter, and Life.
Until this space becomes our Home.
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