Hello there. It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote here and I am feeling better. Stronger. More adjusted. And boy oh boy, is it a good feeling. I’ve been able to loosen my death grip on the steering wheel, and the other night we had chili and rolls for dinner and found a way to stream an American football game. It almost felt like a normal fall Saturday.
I am not one to count days and weeks–or really anything for that matter. Maybe that’s because I am more of a words girl than a number one or because countdowns make me nervous. In general, numbers just don’t matter very much to me. Occasionally, however, they do give me perspective.
If I wanted to keep track of the number of days we have been here, it would be easy. We arrived the night of August 1. For a gal who doesn’t like counting, I love it when things are easy like that. Like the fact that we were married in 2005 and three of our five children were born in 2010 and 2015. Woot woot. This word girl can do skip counting.
And so, if we arrived August 1, I can do second grade math and figure out that we have been here 53 days. Or, if we want to be really specific, (since we are being so mathematical here), 52, because August 2 was our first full day in Rwanda.
Why does it matter? Well, first of all, I am not wholly sure it does. But someone once told us it would take 90 days for our family to settle in.
We are over halfway there.
At first, my husband thought 90 days sounded ridiculous. I am not sure I really thought much about it at all, honestly. I knew we were going into a whole new world and my expectations were nil because how could I know what I didn’t know? Now, on the ground for about seven weeks, we are learning, it’s true. It takes a lot of time to settle your family in well.
Why? Because EVERYONE is adjusting. Mom, dad, and five little children with needs, desires, fears, worries, expectations and hopes. We are flexing. We are swimming in the water. We are finding our way in this strange new world where barber’s don’t know how to cut our hair and cheddar cheese is a luxury!
So when I break down in tears, or my son does too, I remember, we’ve only been here 53 days. (or 52 if you want to slice it that way). We are newborns. Still learning how to get milk and how to sleep through the night. Those are both literal, actually.
It takes time. Lots of time. Lots of patience. Lots of grace.
“Slowly, slowly, slowly,” they say here in Rwanda.
They don’t rush. They wait. They are a patient and gentle people.
I am learning to be patient and gentle with myself (and my family) too.
Moses wrote the famous words in Psalm 90, “teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
I’ve always thought of that in the ways of numbering our days here on earth, because we never know when we may be taken up to glory. And that is what Moses is speaking of here.
But when I think of it in different terms, of numbering the days we’ve been in transition, the number of days we were on the road in an RV, the number of places we’ve visited, the states we drove through or the number of houses we have called “home” in the past year, I think I also can gain a heart of wisdom. Because the numbers start to tell a story. No, they can’t tell the whole one, but they can give a piece of it. They give insight into the struggle our brains have had in doing mental gymnastics time and time again for 52 days and before.
So for fun, here are a few numbers:
In the past year we:
- Spent 170 days on the road in an RV
- Visited 27 states
- Lived in four different time zones
- Drove 9,000 miles.
- Flew 9,000 miles
- Have called 6 different places home.
- Have called Rwanda home for 53 days.
Things we lost track of? The number of places we stopped, the number of people we were privileged to see, and the number of ways God came through and made a way. Those things are counted in our hearts.
Yes, sometimes numbers help. Yes, to 90 days (or more) of adjusting. Yes to hoping we are over halfway there. Yes to going slow. Yes to giving grace. Yes to remembering where we have been and why that is exhausting. And yes to knowing where we are right now. And most of all, yes to the One who goes before, comes behind and walks alongside us as we go.
Here’s to day 54. Whatever it may bring. May He be our constant in the midst of it all.