Six years ago I decided to stay in America at least till the end of the year. Six years ago I knew my family needed me more than the school needed me. Six years ago I had no idea how exhausted I was or how much healing I needed.
Six years ago I celebrated my birthday in chunks. I spent the morning with my Dad having breakfast and paying off his boat. Six years ago riding in that boat was one of the things I looked forward to a lot. Six years ago we didn’t get to use the boat very much because my grandmother couldn’t be away from the house. Six years ago my Mom and I went out for dinner and a little shopping. Six years ago she gave me her opal ring. More than six years ago I used to tease her about what bad luck it was for her to wear an opal and not have an October birthday. Six years later that ring is one of my favorite things. Six years ago my Mom took me to get my ears pierced for my birthday.
Six years ago I railed when people would say things like, “Isn’t it wonderful how God worked it out for you to be here when your parents need your help?!” Six years ago I wanted to scream, “God did NOT orchestrate a civil war where people are suffering and dying so I could be here!!!!!!!” Six years ago I just smiled and said something like, “It’s good to be able to help.”
Six years ago was a while ago. Somedays it feels like yesterday. Somedays it feels like another lifetime ago. Six years ago I wouldn’t have chosen to go through those things. Six years later, I don’t think I’d choose them either. Six years later I can honestly say I’m thankful for seeing God’s goodness in really hard times. I’m thankful for friends who aren’t dependent on geographic proximity. I’m thankful for having a place to land when I’m displaced. I’m thankful for being able to understand a little more of what the rest of the world lives through. I’m thankful for the new opportunities in my life that could be because the old opportunities had to cease. I’m thankful that I know when times are tough I can hold onto hope and know beyond reason that God is in control and has plans for me to grow and prosper—plans for a hope and a future.
photo courtesy of Kelsey Lane