We tumbled into bed after taking thirty-one hours of journey around the world to find ourselves in our other home, Uganda. We? I have had the pleasure of bringing Kira and Jack with me on this adventure. Jack brought his school with him, the bonus of homeschooling. For weeks I have labored in my mind over how I would manage through four airports and 31 hours of travel with two children. As usual if I allowed myself to to think in consideration of my own strength while fears seep through the cracks all I could imagine was disaster and hardship. Or, I could insert myself into the plan, strength, protection and provision of almighty God and release my inclination to be in control with organized plans A, B, and C in action. I chose to fall backwards into the grip of God and trust that he takes special care of mama’s who are guiding the young. I guess that is the practicing the pithy phrase, “let go, let God.” It is always harder to do than say.
Craig dropped us at the curb on Friday morning at 4:30 a.m. Kira in her footie pajamas, Jack bright eyed and chatty with our six suitcases and two rolling carry-ons, backpacks and stroller. Kira kept a vigilant watch on her furry white blanket, not to be white for long. She understood we were going on an airplane to go see Auntie Phiona, Auntie Julie and Robert and all the children she calls “friends”. Jack looked at me and said, “Mom however I can help you with Kira, I will do it.” I kissed the top of his head.
We flew to Houston, a surprise layover the airlines tricked me into calling it the same flight number but a change in aircraft. I had to overcome my steaming mad redhead response. Then we were off to Newark where we had several hours for Kira to watch the Bee movie as we waitd for our over night plane to Brussels. There wasn’t a hitch as we found our way to our next plane taking us to Entebbe. In fact there was the added bonus of an indoor playground for toddlers right next to our gate. Kira played with “friends” happily for over an hour while Jack and I slumped in the corner exhausted by her energy happily absorbing her discoveries. Honestly, I can’t recall one problem in thirty-one hours. Not one. Every flight left on time, no turbulence, no disasters, no major Kira tantrums, and no need for special assistance. We managed perfectly with the exclusive help of God alone. Prayers were answered.
Kira loves to fly. She sits by the window and tells me everything she sees, and as we take off she responds as if she’s on an amusement park ride. When we land she applauds and shrieks “yay”!! She laughs as if being tickled in all the sensitive spots with so much passion that everyone on the plane breaks out in big smiles and turns toward her to appreciate her simple joy of a good landing. She sleeps well on the plane and so so I so we didn’t arrive sleep deprived. Seeing Phiona and Robert at the airport was a happy reunion. Kira remembered them and extended her arms for a hug. If you know Kira she’s not quick to herself up to anyone right away. When she saw Robert she blushed as if she were having an encounter with her Knight in Armor coming to rescue her from the tower her parents have locked her in for safe keeping. (She loves to watch Shrek.) She dipped her chin, gave him her most flirtatious smile and looked up at him from under her fluttering eyelashes. Can you believe this? It is true. She is in love with Robert. Immediately she was in his arms for a big hug. Her dad would be so jealous if he saw that. Arriving home was all joy for her as she followed Phiona around and told us all what to do and where to put our things
This adventure for little miss Kirabo LaTorre will seal our long standing prayer to God that she will have a deep connection with her culture and home land. All the work we do originally began with this one hope, that she would have opportunity to grow up knowing her home country and people. She will be three at the end of February and I can already see that being here satisfies something deep inside of her. Her worried stormy look she wears much of the time has disappeared and she’s celebratory and exuberant with joy.
For me to actually accomplish work while I am here is yet to be discovered as I tow her and Jack along with me. But the real work takes place in the family room and kitchen of our children’s home. Apart from some major shopping for things to sell, all of the work is with the team as we all interact with the children. It makes good sense to fold my own children into the fabric of these children’s lives. It is wonderful for me to know that the nature of my work allows me to bring my kids to work! And I work from home so I don’t miss one important opportunity. It requires a highly sophisticated juggling act on my part. Quite often I drop a ball. It reminds me of when my horse falls out of a canter. I’ve learned to give her the signal “get back in the canter” and she does and so we go. It happens without frustration now. I sometimes wonder when I collapse in bed exhausted with most to do items undone if I am spread too thin. I go over my list of responsibilities and there isn’t one I will do without. All of it fits into the big picture, the vision I believe God has shown me. So I surrender it all to Him and follow his way through learning lessons and receiving blessings as I go. I don’t want my easy life back. Oh my, by comparison my life before Uganda was easy street but rapidly on the way towards being boring. Having the urgency of purpose in my every step through my day makes me feel I am exactly who I am meant to be. I can’t argue with that. I won’t win any fitness awards these days, and my personal style has dwindled to an unremarkable condition, a sad face forms when I think about gardening and my home is not a magazine layout nor are my children doing everything just right. I just see those things as goals I set for lack of a greater purpose. I’m learning to let go and let God…it is only hard when I try to hold on tight.
I apologize for the horse analogies but letting go and letting God is an experience i find in perfect parallel with learning how to canter a horse. I have spent most of 2012 learning to canter with countless setbacks, months of giving up, and a drop in my confidence. The movement is so fast and it feels completely different than trotting or walking, and honestly it is scary and fun all at once. Big problems occur if the tension in the reins isn’t just right. If I hold on too tightly the horse stops or bucks. If I let the reins go loose the horse is free to take off. Holding the reins softly with the exact amount of contact in the mouth takes finesse and practice. As I said the canter can feel scary so letting go of the fear and allowing the horse to carry me requires an ability to override the instinct to hold on tight. The fetal position is where I instinctively go, and ironically that’s the position of a jockey asking a horse to go as fast as it can go. Relaxing in the canter might be one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do. I know what’s at risk. I don’t want to fall and get hurt. I don’t want to hurt or confuse the horse either. We have to establish a working relationship. In the same way, it was honestly scary for me to attempt to go to Africa alone with my two youngest children. What am I nuts? I know people who watched me wondered what had possessed me. I trust God to carry me on a safe ride to do the work he has for me to do. And that work is in Uganda. Letting the reins be at the exact right tension where I’m wisely steering but not gripping for my life is hte “let go and let God” experience. I’ve practiced it so much on the horse that it ought to spill over into my experience with God leading my life.
The morning sounds here distinctly Ugandan. The tropical birdsong, the steady hum of traffic, the occasional rooster, iron doors swinging open on heavy hinges, and always the voices calling out to one another as life is lived outdoors. I can only imagine one better homecoming sound, the greetings from the children.