Wow, it’s been almost two months since I posted. I am finally settled back into my life here in Phnom Penh after a brief trip to the US to reconnect with family and a few friends. I felt like my mother who in her later years would say “I can either get ready or go, but I can’t do both”. It was a lot of work to get ready to be away for two weeks. As I have assumed more and more responsibility at work, it is not easy to slip away for two weeks. I ended up working literally right up to the moment that my taxi picked me up to take me to the airport to catch my flight home.
I love flying, even with all the luxuries diminishing with each passing year. I get into my endurance frame of mind and am watchful in case the Lord has some bit of encouraging for me to do and I often feel refreshed, rather than exhausted at the end of the flight. Unfortunately my body hasn’t caught on and still rebels against the 17 hours of sitting. I use my travel pillow more for my behind than my neck.
Being home was simply lovely. I arrived to find a sunny afternoon in Seattle and took advantage of every glorious moment to get outside into the fresh air and beauty of the Northwest. But the best part was seeing the precious faces and hearing the voices and looking into the eyes of many I love and miss. It was a gift of great value and I am grateful.
I have included photos from a few highlights…
Holding Nikki and Andy’s much prayed for baby twin daughters, this one is Elllie!
A hike up Saddle Mountain with Hilary, Ron, Anna and Rachel, nevermind my silly face, aren’t the others gorgeous!
Rachel and I sailing with my brother James on the Columbia River, exhilarating!
One story must be shared. Rachel and I were with my sister and her family on the fourth of July and they had planned to attend the local festivities in the nearby town of Rufus Oregon, so we tagged along. One of the special features of the event was the arrival and set down of a Life Flight helicopter. After all the kids had their chance to sit in the co-pilots seat and look at all the cool gadgets and telescopic gurney, I made my way over to the co-pilot to express my gratitude for the kind of work he does. I briefly shared with him my story of Hal’s post-stroke flight up the Columbia gorge to the hospital in Portland, and my appreciation for the phone call I received from the co-pilot after he delivered Hal to the hospital. I received the call as I was making my way in a driving rain storm via car as fast as I could to be with Hal when he came out of surgery. The call was reassuring and seemed to me to be above and beyond the call of duty. As I ended my story this co-pilot, Michael, fighting tears, said “That was me! I was the one that called you.” I was taken aback and asked him how he could possibly know that he was the one who was with Hal. He said he remembered that particular incident clearly because when they got the call, they had just lifted off at a nearby hospital and could not have been in a better location to get to Hal quickly. He said he remembered thinking ‘that is one lucky guy’. He had enjoyed his chat with Hal who had, even in the midst of the life threatening situation, expressed appreciation for the scenic sunset flight down the gorge.
I hated to tell him, when he asked, that Hal had died shortly thereafter, but I could not help but feel that the story was important for Michael to hear. I also could not help marvel at the great lengths God goes to in order to accomplish His purpose. It just felt like He had arranged that encounter purposefully. I had a renewed sense of peace that I am always in the right place at the right time. I need only to believe and notice what is before me.
Rachel and me with Michael, co-pilot of Life Flight
I bring that peace and conviction back with me to Phnom Penh, trusting that while it was difficult to fly away again, I am in the right place at the right time. I believe this and notice what is before me. I see a staff that needs training and encouragement, a boss that needs support, friends that need a listening ear, a good laugh and prayer. I just had lunch with one who is grieving over the loss of her friend who was a victim of the Colorado theater shooting incident. We gathered with some other Americans and grappled with the senselessness and sadness and suffering of all involved, knowing how easily we could dismiss it being here with our own problems. We let our hearts break as we sat together. I am grateful to be here for many reasons.
I will bring this to a close with some good news. Anna is coming to live with me in Phnom Penh! I laugh when I think back to what I believe Jesus said to me, way back when I was wrestling with leaving my girls to move to Cambodia, ‘there are things I want to do in the life of Anna and Rachel that I can only do if you go to Cambodia”, I had no idea what He meant. I thought He wanted me out of the way. I didn’t know it partly meant He needed me here so He could bring Anna here. We just don’t know what He is up to, but when we sense His lead we are wise to follow.