Friday, July 27, 2012

Mission Trip, Day Seven.....

Friday, July 20th

Final day of work.  I cannot now remember what triggered this journal entry:

"How can I trust You again when you let my baby get so sick?"

There is not now, nor will there ever be, enough of an explanation for me.  In the deep bedrock of my soul I know that the answer simply does not matter.  I also know that the answer may not actually exist, any more than there is a sensible answer to "Is red round, or square?"  For the Great Eternal, who stands outside of time, the answer is irrelevant.  Outside of time, she is not sick, and her sickness will represent the briefest imaginable portion of her eternal life. Outside of time, my memory of her suffering and losses will only stand in contrast to what she REALLY is, for "it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like Him." 

It's NOT enough.  But it will have to do.  We have work to finish. I manage to cry in private this time.

Heading to the home that we now all view as "ours," we map out the day:  Young people, dig the trench.  We'll figure out where.  Sabrina has a board to install.  Somehow yesterday she lost track of her skill with the drill, but by the end of the day, she's gonna have it or die trying.  Adults, finish the danged backer board and start the tile.  There is no way this can all be accomplished today, but we'll do all we can.

I took the younger folk (minus Sabrina, who was busy with a drill LOL), and we scoped out the land.  Where does the water come from?  And where would a trench successfully drain from and to?  While we are staking out a potential pathway, a neighbor comes and tells us that it is partly on his property.  We mark what he says is the line, and shift the trench route a couple of feet.  Our homeowner returns and disputes the line, but we convince him that it doesn't matter - the trench will do very well in it's new location.  ASP staff arrive, and concur with the location of the trench and we give the go-ahead for the digging.

The floor drags on.  The kids FINISH the trench.  There are only THREE of them digging, and it is 18 inches deep, 18 inches wide, and about 20 yards long.  Sabrina installs her board and moves on to framing a window, refusing to let anyone else in on the job.  The rest go to clean the van and sort tools into their owners' toolboxes.  They all finish, and by this time we have laid the first four rows of tile, starting with 4 in the middle and working out concentrically. 

At this point the home owner's daughter joins us.  She sits in the middle, handing out tiles, managing tools:  "I need a knife!"  "Got it!"  "Pencil?"  "Here you go!"  We are all so sticky from tile glue that we don't need to actually pick anything up, just slap a hand on it and it comes right along!  Taking off a pair of scissors requires manually pulling fingers back apart.  There is much, much much laughter.

It's time to leave, but there are eight people in that small room absolutely determined to finish even if it means no dinner.

And by some miracle, we do.  We did everything on the list except painting a room (it was too full of the things from the room we just finished!) AND dug the trench.  We laugh.  We hug.  We get stuck together.  We'd clap, but we can only do one each. 

Then it's time to leave them, Moody and Molly and Linda.  It's like leaving family behind. They thank us for what we've done.  But more than that, we thank THEM for letting us do it.  We all feel like we've gotten so much more than we gave.

Back at the center, we make it (barely) in time to eat - many teams, like ours, stayed to go the distance, so they delayed dinner.

After dinner is the final EG.  The one where we all share our "God Moments," the one most special moment of the week.  Eighty-two people listen to each other's stories.  No one is bored.  No one wants to leave.  I say that my God Moment was watching Ryan become a leader.  And it's true - the transformation from boy to man has been a gift to observe.  And I can say it without crying.

But my personal God Moments were all in the tears.  God reached out His hands to me each time a teammate held me through the struggle, each time a total stranger from a far-away church hugged me, each time a kind word landed in my Warm Fuzzy bag, and especially in the moment when I realized Babygirl's name was up on the prayer request board, and I didn't put it there.

It is true that God has no hand but our hands.  I went to lend my hands to God for a week. And I honestly went to escape my life. But I received love and support and relief from God through the hands of others.

Nothing has changed.  Not God, not Babygirl, not life.  Usually we return from these trips exhausted. But I feel lighter, rested.  Relieved.  Thankful.


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