The kids have been asleep for about an hour, tucked in their beds with warm fleece pajamas and thick quilts. It’s dark and cold outside. The house is warm and dimly lit. Anna is working on her computer in the dining room catching up on all the email that flooded her inbox since I left the house more than twelve hours ago. It’s 9 pm and I’m in my pajamas, in bed, with a book. I’m inordinately excited about all three of these things. What has my life come to?
When my parents were my age they lived in Cyprus. It was the early seventies, a time of instability in the relationship between Greece and Turkey (actually, it’s pretty much always been a rocky relationship). In fact, Turkey invaded the little island of Cyprus home to a blend of people some with Greek heritage and others Turkish. It was also home to a couple of garrisons on the British Army and the Royal Air Force–hence my parents presence. In their late thirties, my parents were listening to the sound of shells falling from the sky close relatively close to their home. My Dad was coordinating a part of the British relief effort, and they were hosting at least one family of refugees in their home while a more permanent solution could be found.
I–on the other hand–spent half the day inadvertently walking around with a Mace Windu tattoo stuck to by rear. And ended the day crawling in the bed earlier than usual because of an early wake up call in what might be called the later part of the wee hours–at least to me–when I arose to help my wife give pain medicine to our daughter who broker her leg recently. Like an old man in training, I couldn’t fall back to sleep when I finally made it back to the bed.
Sometimes I take a step back, look at my life, and yawn.
There are no bombs falling near me. No refugees. My iPhone suggests that tomorrow may play host to a “weather event.” I hate that term. Weather is, by nature, an event. I digress. In my placid, southern, middle aged life, the promise of wintry mix is the emotional surrogate of a major military incursion. We don’t have artillery fire. We do have sleet. We’re bordering on a state of emergency.
This afternoon the Harris Teeter parking lot will be filled with minivans and parents panicking to get an extra loaf of bread and another gallon of milk. It’s not much, but it’s all we have in the way of excitement.
When I tell people that I was born in Cyprus, and spent my childhood in Germany and the United Kingdom before going to high school in suburban Las Vegas, they’re impressed and interested. When I inform them that I have two children, live in a small house in a small southern city, work for a Christian ministry, they fight back the yawns.
Thankfully, as I was sitting under the covers last night I was reading a new book by my colleague Adam Jeske and his wife, Christine. It’s an extended reflection on their return to the United States after spending ten years abroad (with their two kids) working in various mission and development work entitled, This Ordinary Adventure.
It’s early on–I’m only on page 27–but it gave me something I desperately needed: a shot in the arm…of hope.
I don’t think we’ll be moving to Germany or Cyprus any time soon, but I am resolved to recapture a sense of the adventure in normal life, if only by savoring it. I’m committed to re-discovering the joie de vivre that once characterized our lives.
It’s a journey and things may change slowly, but I want to encourage you to spend some time reflecting on how God can meet you in the adventure of ordinary life.