We are on our way to India as I write. It has been a good 6 weeks at home, although it has been a little odd to adjust to being at home for that long in one big chunk. We both got a lot done (house work, yard work, etc). I finished the backsplash in our kitchen, which had been sitting unfinished for about 6 months. I also got a lot of writing done and got caught up on lots of office work. Edie had tons to to do including getting ready for three different trainings with women on this trip. We also visited two of our children’s families as two grandchildren graduated from high school. In short, we had a pretty normal May. But for us it is not normal; really nothing is normal, or perhaps normal is being abnormal, if that makes any sense.
We are in the Atlanta airport with a flight delay. As we prepared to leave yesterday, I was struck with how odd it seemed to be heading off for several weeks on the other side of the world. I came to the conclusion that our two lives, the one at home and the one on the road, are so different that it always seems odd when we switch. About the time it seems to feel normal we switch again. I am not complaining, just reflecting on how it feels to do what we do.
I remember something my good friend Ritch Trca said about living in the Czech culture after many years of serving there. He said it was like walking around with a pebble in your shoe; nothing that stops you from doing what you need to do, but still a feeling that there is always a bit of an irritant or that things don't feel quite right. I feel we have the same pebble in our shoes, we just switch which shoe it is in depending on whether we are at home or on the road.
Edie has been working on the book of Philippians for her study with the ladies in southern India. Of course one of the most significant statements in the book is Paul’s exclamation, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” It is a hard statement to fully grasp in life, at least for me. In the context we get some help understanding what Paul meant. He says in 2:19 that he is confident that through the Philippians' prayers, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, that he would be delivered. But it is clear he does not mean deliverance from prison or from the possibility of death. For him, deliverance is “not being ashamed” and “Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or death”. That is what it meant for him to say “for me to live is Christ.” Prison, death, circumstances, and anything else is of little consequence; what matters is that Christ is exalted.
For us, living is full of odd circumstances, not necessarily always bad, just odd feeling. But that is okay. We do not need to be delivered from that. What we need is to have Christ exalted in our bodies, whether in an airport delayed, or at home in the office, or training nationals to study the Bible. Would you pray with us about that for this trip? We are confident that through your prayers, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, Christ will be exalted in our lives, in spite of circumstances, even sometimes in spite of us.