It was time to turn off the radio. The lights on the dash were dimming as we drove onward into the western prairie. We were headed toward the other edge of Nebraska, and a campground family gathering somewhere we had never been before. Somewhere we didn’t quite know how to get to. But even in our newlywed existence, we were pretty sure we could recognize alternator failure. My baby-faith was rushing in where angels might fear to tread, praying miracles over us like thunder. In the meantime, we were conserving electricity by nixing the tunes and the A/C. The summer night was humid and the darkness thick out on the country road.
Our alternator (and the angels) got us as far as a convenience store near the campground. Out where cellphones had trouble reaching, we explained our situation to the clerk and called collect again to our Heavenly Daddy. It was only a few minutes later that our nephew walked in with his buddies. He must have been surprised at our excitement to see him, and then our commandeering their car to drive us safely in. We weren’t. We had been expecting God to make a way.
The lights are dimming down on our time here in Omaha. It’s time to forsake Craigslist in favor of the Goodwill drop-off drive-thru. If you stop by our house, odds are we will try to give you something. We just got all our official documents to apply for Costa Rican residency, and the suitcases are filling up. We don’t know exactly how it will look to get from here to there—closet/cabinet status is improving but not yet empty, our house is still waiting to meet its new owners, our monthly funding is at 56%—but our faith is driving on. We know God will make a way.
Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged. . .for there is a power far greater on our side! We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us! 2 Chronicles 32:7, 8a
“. . .it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
As Bilbo made his dash to join the adventuring dwarves and lose his reputation of being respectfully predictable, one of his first laments was missing his pocket-handkerchiefs. I have enjoyed the humor of that little scene recently as I made a batch of them for our family to try out. Inspired by a friend’s table and hankering for a bit of sewing, I’ve become interested in making everyday cloth napkins for our family. Considering my abundance of narrow quilting remnants, I decided to start on a smaller scale with some hankies. (We like them, but I won’t go into the blow-by-blow.)
Making something useful out of something that I already had–and wasn’t using–is always a personal joy, but there’s been more to this project than wiping kissers and sneezers. A sense of home. A new family tradition. In this time of releasing so much of our family’s way of doing life, my heart is hungry to tuck another feather in the nest we are making in Costa Rica. Like Bilbo, I enjoy my comfort. Yes, I am glad we won’t have to buy paper napkins and as many tissues in the future, or send our landfills another offering. But mostly I think of meals that we will eat, conversations shared, and prayers made over that cloth for years to come. When we move from our home of 7 years to an apartment in San Jose for 8-10 months of language school, and later to a rental house in Atenas to serve at the Home of Life, they will lay on the table as a thread of continuity. A little luxury speaking the truth that the life our family shares is not defined by the space we share it in.
Today I spent some of my Christmas money on yards of beautiful fabric, a peaceful swirl of blues and greens for most days, a black print for spaghetti dinners. And as we continue to move through the next few months letting go of what doesn’t fit with our calling, I will be stitching on the background for new memories. I’m channeling my inner Bilbo, fluffing up my faith to set out upon this journey, and tucking away a little comfort for the road.
Photograph and a Tutorial on Napkin Making at Blissfully Content.