It has always fascinated me, the need children have for their parents to SEE what they are doing. The little backward glances, to see if Mommy saw that cool high jump out of the swing to the persistent, “MOM, DAD…..watch me dive, tumble, ……. “and you can fill in the blank. It gets less verbal and sleeve tugging as the years slip into mature teens. Yet there are still those eyes that meet yours across the court, when a goal is made. Do I still as a middle aged woman desire my parents to SEE what I am doing and the world I am living in? Do I still want their approval and affirmation? Eyes catching mine and them trying to understand what is going on in my world?
And so what a delight this last month, that after living in a foreign land for 5 years, they came. My Mom and Dad. My Uncle and Aunt. They saw. They tasted and felt. They touched. They met many of my friends. They walked where I shop. It is not an easy walk. There are piles of garbage and bad smells, smoke, intense heat, extreme poverty and too much to absorb in one pass. They sat on our incredible tropical beaches and walked on our favorite lake road walk. They saw glimpses of needs and mission and vision and dreams. They sat in our hot, more than hot, pretty much non existent, air conditioned cars. They came to the school and saw a dress rehearsal band concert. They saw my children thriving. My husband was bombarded with deep cultural questions by them. My children filled their overflowing senses with more: music, songs, driving, a fully catered meal complete with outside dining, candles, flowers, music and so much thought.
And so now they understand. Now they SEE. A land and a life that words and pictures cannot fully express.
And now there is a deep part of me, that is so so so satisfied. Knowing that MY Mom and Dad came, and looked, and noticed and saw what I and my family are doing.
It was a gift. It was sacred. 4 nights and 5 days. It was full of memories and goodness that cannot be measured. But our eyes met, across my table, across my living room, across the car and our eyes understood. Our eyes met again as they got swept away in the cue of people being cleared through security at the airport and it was ENOUGH.
Thank you Mom and Dad for still looking at your girl.
About the time that I was working on this blog my parents sent an email. Them reacting to what they saw. It was meaningful to me and I have their permission to share it with you:
“”While everything is still relatively fresh in my mind……and before the routine of life here in Travelers Rest cause things to blur…..here is a listing (in no particular order) of sights, sounds, tastes, feelings and emotions of our Sentani visit.
>The constant swarms and “buzzing” of motor bikes and scooters, particularly in the City……coming at all angles and from al directions……with often little regard to safety.
>The comfort and safe location of your spacious and light-filled home which has most of the conveniences of Western living.
>The awesome boat ride and time spent with the family at the lovely middle beach and picnic there…..felt like we were on a private island paradise…..quite magical!
>The hap-hazard and illogical way things are done in Papua, often with no sense of logic or efficiency (e.g. road improvements between Sentani and the beach). Only two traffic lights in town …..and one not working).
>The high standard of the facilities and faculty at Hillcrest International School ……which would exceed that of many schools in the USA.
>The missionary community at large……the dedication and commitment…..and strong support for each other, across denominational boundaries. Very impressive and God-honoring.
>The inter-faith service…..enthusiasm and passion of those ministering…..meeting your friends and the final song about “taking Christ to the Nations”…..very appropriate and emotionally moving.
>Seeing our wonderful grandsons on their home turf…..and being able to observe their different personalities, characteristics and gifts. Aubrey: passion for music, maturity, great driver, willing helper, cool, collect and calm. Andrew….so talented in every way (amazing that a 16 year old could pull off a candle light dinner for 10 with such class and style). Jacob: lovely to see him so happy, singing round the house, alive in the moment and thriving in his school experience. Nathaniel: not wanting to miss a thing, very quiet but absorbing it all, respectful and endearing.
>The native welcome dance around the camp fire arranged by Darron, and meeting Eric and Gary and their wives and family.
.>Having a greater appreciation, understanding and respect for the work Daron is doing among the indigenous people and visiting the clinic where Ruth works. Meeting Fiona and Dr. Di and visiting Dr. Di’s home with barnyard, goat pens and experimental garden projects.
>The “blackboard” listing all the things that we would do and experience…..WHICH WE DID!
>All the efforts to make our living accommodation as comfortable as possible…..nice bedrooms, dedicated bathroom.
>Meeting your “helps” : wonderful cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing.
>The third world squalor: dirt, poverty, smells, lack of hygiene at the market. But also seeing the smiling faces of the “wheel-barrow”guy who normally helps….and the girl at the vegetable stand where you usually go.
>The stark contrast between places of great beauty – The Lake country, mountains, ocean beaches, etc. and the squalor, rubble, unfinished projects and garbage. Can’t be too critical as we see some of the same things in South Carolina.
>Coping with the heat and humidity…..especially outside the house. Being blessed with very little rain.
>No buys or sickness. The internet “hot spots” via your phones.
>The impoverished neighborhood and small dark home where the “3 girls” live.
>The “live” hymn music filling the house from Daron’s playing on the piano.
>The lovely meals, drinks and tasty morsels that we constantly enjoyed.
>The opportunity to have our clothes washed and ironed after 10 days of travel.
>Evening candle-light supper at the school.
>Attending band practice at the school. Seeing Aubrey in action and chatting with the Band director.
>Learning about how the various tribal laws still carry so much weight and often supersede government laws.
>Lots of love, laughs, and sharing with the family. Three generations of us from 3 continents living together for a few days.
Wow! When I review this list, and there are probably some things I've missed, I can’t believe that you managed to pack so much for us into the 4 nights and 5 days we were with you. We wouldn’t have missed it for the world….neither would Sonia and Allan.
Thank you so much again for all the planning, preparation, and effort you put into this (and all this, in the midst of your busy lives). It was so much appreciated, an amazing experience , with unforgettable memories!!
Love, Dad and Mom”