Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Out of Order

It started with a frog in the toilet.

Not a dead frog, but a very-much-alive-and-happy-to-be-here frog that had taken up residence in our upstairs bathroom while we were gone.

As we finished our furlough and prepared to move back to Bolivia, ending our time with a week-long missions conference, the #1 thing we looked forward to on our return was routine.  We talked about it often in the final month -- how nice it would be to be back in "our" house, with a schedule that doesn't change, tied to our work.

As I detailed in a previous post, furlough is a time of great instability.  It is often fun and enjoyable, but the stress of being continually unsettled wears on you to the point that you crave the "boring" structure of life in one place, with a fixed schedule.  Sounds just like what we live with here at Etnos . . . right?

Evidently not. 

In my last post, in which I detailed the events of Anne's arm breakage (she's doing well, by the way), I mentioned a few of the unsettling things that have occurred in our first three weeks back in Santa Cruz.  Allow me to lay them out a little more explicitly:

1.  We arrive totally worn out from the conference, goodbyes, packing, and travel
2.  Two weeks of cleaning, unpacking, and settling into the house
3.  Five days in, I begin teaching my classes. Kaylee starts homeschool a week later.
4.  A frog lives in the bathroom for several nights
5.  Visitors (whom we did not know) from the US
6.  I take on another hat, doing part time in the accounting office so I can cover for a coworker that is going on furlough in July
Learning how to run our monthly Etnos accounts with Karla

7.  Anne breaks her arm and I spend 2 days at the hospital with her
8.  A rat eats through the wires of the lights in our office (our most-used room in the house), prompting an unplanned remodel thereof.
9.  During said remodel, we find that termites have also moved in and are eating the joists.
Pulling out the ceiling FULL of mouse/rat nastiness
10.  Aforementioned rat plagues the house for a couple weeks, eating our bananas and avoiding all 4 types of traps that I set up.  Occasionally keeps us up at night.
11.  During this time, I have to take Anne into the city at least once a week for checkups
12.  Prompted by some generous friends, we start a new program on campus which causes massive stress (and several extra meetings) due to an unforeseen cultural issue.
13.  The rat visits Kaylee in the living room one evening, then runs up the stairs (where we sleep).  Not so much sleep that night.
14.  We discover that the rat has made a mess in our storage room, which leads to me spending a day patching holes and building another trap.
15.  Lydia turns 6, requiring an extra trip to town to buy her a bicycle.

16.  The UPS battery backup in the office bites the dust.  Another trip to town.
17.  We are in charge of the monthly Day of Prayer, adding more work for both Kaylee and I
18.  Lydia gets massively sick in her bed, resulting in midnight laundry (gross!!)
19.  We are approached by our leaders about the possibility of taking on some more responsibility
20. Today Anne starts daily physical therapy sessions with a lady from church.

Now, each of those things on its own isn't a big deal.  But to have all of that packed into 8 fast weeks was a lot, and we were feeling it.  We were tired, stressed, and fed up.  Trying to manage all of the distractions as well as maintain our daily responsibilities was becoming overwhelming.  We weren't sleeping well, either, which is never good. 

However, as we sludged through this past weekend, the future looked brighter and we went to bed Sunday night hoping and praying for a normal week.

Then, around 10:45pm, something started clattering around in the attic.  We hadn't seen or heard from the rat in several days, so we dejectedly assumed it had returned and was trying to get back in the house.  After listening to it clomp around on the very thin ceiling for over an hour, I tossed a poisoned banana up there.  Soon, our ears were greeted by a worse noise as it flopped around, evidently in throes of agony and death.  This lasted until after 2am.

So much for sleep.

In the morning, I could still hear scratching in the ceiling, but had no choice but to poke my head up into the attic, hoping to see a rat on the verge of death.  What I found instead was a very sick opossum.
Nathan: 1, 'Possum: 0
Because of the way our house has been cobbled together over the course of a couple of decades of remodeling, the attic is a mess of small spaces full of styrofoam, wires, spiderwebs, and rat droppings.  So I spent a couple hours trying to get at the opossum which had wedged itself down near the eave, between two sheets of styrofoam insulation.

Eventually she moved far enough into the open that I was able to get a good shot at her with my .22 pellet pistol and drag her out with a wire hook on the end of a pipe.

As I spent most of the remainder of the day patching holes in the wire mesh that covers our eaves, I remembered what it was that we craved so much on our return.

Routine.  Stability.  Structure. 

I mentioned it to Kaylee and we laughed (a good sign that we're still okay).  She reflected that maybe God was trying to show us that stability can be an idol just as much as anything else in life.  Are we relying too much on the security of home?  Does our comfort come from an unchanging agenda?  Are we seeking comfort and rest in a way of life, instead of in our Father?

Please pray for us. 

We want sleep.  We want a normal week (or day!).  We want our house to be a restful haven, free of pests.  We want to do our work in peace.  We want our kids to be healthy.  We want stability.

But all we need is Jesus.

Please pray that we would continue to flex.  That we would not break.  That we would adapt and persevere and follow God's will in faith.  Pray for the true Rest and true Peace that ought to be a part of our lives no matter the circumstances in which we find ourselves.  His order and His plan are perfect -- we just need the faith to follow Him.

1 comment:

  1. great letter and praying right now for a good nights rest...when we are not rested things can sure be big and discouraging...animo amigos!