How does one go back to the public page after they’ve been away from it for so long? I suppose one starts writing and when they’re finished they hit the button that says “publish.” It’s as simple and as difficult as that.
I’ve taken months off Fragments. I don’t understand wholly why I chose to stop writing my blog – there even came a point when I wasn’t sure I’d ever return to it. I’ve been busy with writing a novel. A long one. One, I love. But that’s not to say I couldn’t have written a few blog posts in the middle of that. I chose to go silent without realizing it was what I needed. It just happened. Sometimes, it’s good to to be still, to let your thoughts go down into the ground without everyone needing to know what they are.
I had the most wonderful summer, intermingled with frustrations and disappointments, the stuff of life. But it was good. The highlight was this incredible visit from some dear friends who stayed with us for a month.
At the beginning of February, Chris and Karissa Strovas and their six wonderful children dropped their lives, their jobs, their animal responsibilities, and came to see us. The Strovas family packed twelve suitcases, pulled out their carseats, bought sunscreen, sun hats, and lots of gluten free snacks, diapers, purchased plastic plates and bowls, weathered three horrific airplane rides and landed in Temuco ready for a big adventure.
They came to be a part of our lives, to see what life in Chile is like, to eat our meat and drink our wine and eat our bread (even though they’re gluten free!) To be here with us. And consequently, I’ve decided it was time to break the silence and acknowledge our time together.
Karissa and I met twenty years ago at a high school youth camp where we were thrown together as tent-mates, almost against our wills. It turns out, we got along. And over the last twenty years, we have learned how to love each other, how to accept each other for who we are, and how to encourage one another to press into the rigorous thing we call life rather than away from it. This is a great accomplishment. One we should never under-appreciate. She and I are both strong women, who do almost every single thing differently – We communicate in remarkably different ways, forgive in different ways, practice our faith uniquely, we parent differently, clean house differently, cook differently, give and take in different ways, show love in different ways, we even do laundry differently. We are unique, one from the other, in almost every possible way imagineable. And yet, we have a friendship that startles me in how relaxed and unofffended it is. We love each other without condition or constraint.
As a result, we had a remarkable time together this summer. We went to the beach, we went to the market, we drank a lot of pisco and wine, we laughed, we cried. Our children decided they were more like cousins than friends and built forts with each other, watched Little House on the Prairie together and then played dress-up out in the fields. We shared one bathtub, two toilets, and one kitchen. All twelve of us. For four weeks. The kids fought over their seats in the automobiles like true cousins, and we yelled at them and told them to shut-up like true parents. We stayed up late laughing and talking almost every night. We cooked together, got our laundry confused, and many times sat with each other and didn’t say a single word, because there was no need. Sometimes a comfortable silence is the most honest reflection of true friendship.
At the airport when we said good-bye, I cried like a baby. Mainly because I didn’t want them to leave. And also because I was thankful. I hugged their youngest daughter, Liberty and thought she won’t remember me in a few months. We live so far away … And here we are, still here. Still searching for goodness in hard places, still pressing into the rigors of life and very thankful for the times when friends make life feel easier, when they make the presence of God more palatable, and enrich the day to day with the overwhelming goodness of their love.
I left my phone at home and I’m at a gas station using their internet or I’d post photos … perhaps later this week I’ll get some pictures up. But for now … I’m here. Still writing.