I leave for Africa in 9 days. Single digits. I’m on a plane in just a little over a week. On a plane for a really, really long time. Really long time. (What does one do on a plane for eighteen hours?!)
And just today it started to feel real. Nine days is not very long and I began to really think about it and wonder and question the logistics.
I probably should have done that awhile ago, but I like to think life is more exciting when you have the added stress of NO TIME.
I got my second Hepatitix A & B booster shot yesterday. Let me tell you something – you haven’t lived until you’ve had a shot with three little faces peering intently at the nurse as she jams a needle into your arm. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fainter, right? I think I’m finally growing up because I didn’t even have to lay down this time AND I declined the sucker she offered because the kids were with me and I wanted to show them that shots are no big deal.
For the record, that was a risky little game I played. Had I hit the floor I could have scarred them for life. Sometimes you have to take chances, right?
“Whoa,” Landon whispered when Nurse Ratchet finally, mercifully, pulled the needle out of my arm and a stream of blood followed. “Dat is a wot of bwood.” Then he held my hand and kissed my cheek. “I wuv you, Mommy,” he whispered, genuine concern oozing from his crystal blue eyes.
You can’t have him, folks. He’s mine.
As we walked out, Sloan thanked Nurse Ratchet. “Thanks for giving my mom a shot so she won’t get sick and die and stuff,” he called. Die and stuff? What’s the “and stuff?” I decided not to ask…
I’m preparing for the trip in a lot of ways, but the one way I really need to prepare is scaring me. Physically I feel like I’m preparing fairly well. I’m taking vitamins and probiotics to hopefully get my immune and digestive systems toughened up. I’m working out semi-regularly so I can be somewhat in shape while we’re there. I’m inoculated against everything under the sun.
Seriously. I think I might glow in the dark at this point…
I’m trying to get more sleep and spend quality time with the kids and I’ve got at least one date night planned out with my husband before I leave. I’m going to write the kids notes they can open every day and buy little Dollar Store trinkets to help them pass the time until I get home.
Those are the easy preparations.
It’s the inside that has me a bit on edge.
As I’ve spent time praying over this trip, I’ve asked that the Lord change me. Change my heart and change my perspective. But I’ve spent so much time preparing the exteriors that I don’t know if I’ve fully prepared my heart for what I may see and experience.
I don’t want to come home the same and that scares me.
It’s easy to prepare physically for a trip like this. But emotionally and spiritually, it’s a little more frightening. Part of me wants to put up a shield of protection and just go over there and write up an assessment of how Compassion International operates and how you can be a part of it.
Sharp shooter. To the point. Safe.
But I don’t want to miss the opportunity to be changed and challenged and pushed to a deeper knowledge of what it means to serve others. I don’t want to miss the chance to learn and further understand Justice, because I’m pretty sure my Western mind has a very skewed idea of that concept.
In nine days I will board a plane and I want to know I’m not alone in this journey. Join me, please? Would you pray for everyone on the team as we work to honestly and fully bring you stories of how you can (and how many of you probably already are) impact the life of a child in Jesus’ name?
This trip is more than an experience. It’s more than an opportunity. It has to be more than that, because it can’t be about me. How can we all collectively be moved to greater compassion for those in need? It’s a lesson I need to learn and I wondered if you’d walk the road alongside me.
Thank you for the kind words and emails that many of you have already sent. I can’t wait to take this journey together.