Monday, July 29, 2013

Too Soon to Say Goodbye

{a journal entry written four hours into the flight from Iceland to Alaska}

It is so strange that our longest stretch is nearly over (3 hours to go). That when we land, there are only a few, short hours of flying left before this trip, this long~looked~for adventure, this life~changing, 2~month summer, is over. I'm not sure I'm ready for it to be so. Oh, I'm ready for the thrill of being told, "Welcome back, Ms. Coder," ~ for the little joys, like being able to plug things in without a converter, and having a laptop to write with, and being able to hop in the car and go meet missed friends for coffee at Old Town Battle Grounds. I'm ready for big joys, like seeing and hugging my family, reading the Bible together in the morning, and going to our church on Sundays.

I'm ready to plan my fall, see my students, and hear how hard they've worked over "break" ~ to have our summer recital, and go shopping for Family Camp, and go to the fair, and make cheesecake. I am ready to exercise (!!), and work off those extra pounds that desperately want to be my new best friends. I'm ready to unpack the gifts I bought, to asess what I've learned on this trip, to sit and think about which ways I am now responsible to change my life, considering this great privilege I was given. Yes, it is time to go home, and run toward the purpose God is revealing for my life: faithful, passionate step after step.

And yet, sorrow is mixed with this happy conviction. Sorrow for the little things I will miss ~ like borrowing clothes from Kaytch and this infamous iPad from Charae. Like late~night laughter fits and the uncertainty of whether or not we will sleep lightly enough to wake to the alarm in the morning. Sorrow for the big things I will miss, like praying with these two dear girls, challenging conversations, and watching each other's back in crazy cities. We've shared tears, opened our hearts to each other, grown together, and, ultimately, marveled at Who our God is. This, I will miss.

I will miss gasping for air as we run after ferries, buses, and trains, bags bulging from our sides. I will miss the precious people we leave behind ~ even writing that is hard. Those I already knew ~ my aunt, uncle, and cousins; Sabine and Klaus ~ and those I was floored with joy by being blessed enough to meet ~ Anne, Finlay, DR, Catherine, Katie, and Calum, who opened their home and hearts to us. Oh, how much I miss you guys!! And Kirsteen, Andy, and their boys... This is a mystery to me: the fact and existence of the spiritual family in Christ. I cannot comprehend how it is that I can feel an instant kinship with those I did not know a year ago, a month ago, a week ago...and yet, it happens! What unfathomable blessings our LORD has given us, in this alone! He created us to desire fellowship, and then He gave us, His children, a deeper level of fellowship than we could ever understand. But oh, do we delight in it! I sit in awe at His design.

Yet, designed and gifted as we are with this special family, aware as we are ~ from a wistfulness in our souls ~ that it was meant to be forever, leaving can never become easy. I am sore inside with a longing for all those I love ~ both those I am going to and those I must needs leave ~ to be with me. Thus, naturally, my heart breaks when physically I must turn my back on some of these dear ones. On repeat through my head for the past three days, and also poignantly when I had to say good bye to my aunt, have been the few words from "Les Miserables": "It's too soon ~ too soon, to say 'good bye'." I hate "good bye's." This is not how things ought to be. 

On this trip, we have seen great histories and breath~taking landscapes, some of which I dearly hope to see again, but it is the people ~ my dear brothers and sisters, my fellow adopted siblings ~ that I really wish for. If we could all be together, it would not matter where we were. Soon, soon. Praise Jesus, the time is coming! Meanwhile, as I, as we, seek the paths He holds for us, finding our joy consummated in Him and His people, we find our hearts tied stronger to home with every passing meeting and love. I look forward to the day when we will all be together with our Savior, finding "exceeding joy" for eternity in His presence with my whole family. When that day comes, and my back is turned toward this world of crumbling castles and abandoned hills, I will have finally found the "good~bye" that did not come too soon.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Birthday Card

Dearest Twinkles in my eye,
Sweeter than an apple pie,
I wish, today, I was with you,
To celebrate your birthday, too!
 But since, instead, I'm miles away,
On this, your special 8th birthday,
I'm sending you upon a quest.
Follow the clues to know the rest!

But first, my dears, I need to say,
"Happy, Happy 8th Birthday!"
I miss you much, and love you more;
This year, I know, God has in store
So much for you to learn and do,
Be sure to love Him ~ He so loves you!
Obey and listen ~ spread His Joy
And Hope to every girl and boy!

Love again! Now here's the clue ~
Think carefully; It's up to you!


I have many hammers, but they're not for nails
Keys and pedals, but I don't drive
When pushed, I sing, when left, I'm silent
My sound makes the household come alive 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Blogger Goes Facebook....F'reals

Hello my wonderful blog readers! Just a quick update to let y'all know that I went ahead and took the plunge...I'm now on the infamous facebook (Sarah Jayne) for reals, which is where all my onlyacoupleofsentences posts will be from now on. Longer updates here, shorter ones there. TTFN!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Blogger Goes Facebook-Post-Length: Part VI

6am is just about the earliest I've gotten up in the last two months. We made a pact to go to bed at 10 in preparation, but got distracted by an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie....guess what? TV in Scotland is in English, and they even have a US channel!

LOVE the wee bit of Scotland we've seen so far...will be boarding a bus soon to head for the Hebrides!

Blogger Goes Facebook-Post-Length: Part V

Sitting with a delayed flight in the Amsterdam airport. To quote Klause, "Of course." Oh Amsterdam, how happy I will be to leave your marijuana~clouded streets and sickening "shops" for Scotland!

Quirky fact of the day: Although my trip has been through France, Switzerland, and Germany, my only passport stamps are from Iceland and the Netherlands. Well, that makes sense...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Blogger Goes Facebook-Post-Length: Part IV

STARVING. Could have something to do with the 85 kilometers we biked, but who knows?

(don't worry, mom, I got food! :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Gate

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013: Traveling from Paris to Pierrefond, we stopped briefly in Noyon ~ Calvin's birthplace. As I walked into the cathedral, his cathedral for the first twelve years of his life, I was greeted with flying ceilings, cold stones, and musty smells. Beautiful.




I re-emerged into sunlight, shining through the gate and the cobwebs of sadness in my mind, and I knew there were more chapters to this story than the one I had just read...

In fervor were the first stones laid,
A vision, sparked with passion, born.
Those who began would see no end,
But gave their eve for others' morn.

So slaved away a century,
And arches soared, as heaven-bound.
No passion, art, or beauty spared -
For this small church in hamlet-town.

Long-looked-for moment finally come,
The last day darkened, growing late,
While men of ages watched with tears
As a Cross was placed upon the gate.

How brief the moments to be found
When awe and praise are in their right!
For men have long grasped for the pow'r
That's due to One beyond our sight.

Thus, silks and satins swept the floors:
Dust off the stones, but in the soul.
As self-important knowledge hid
The truth from those within its hold.

Long-foreseen darkness come at last,
The Ignorant renounced the Great,
And turned their backs on all that awes.
Still the Cross stood guard above the gate.

Abandoned. Crumpling ages watch
The growing dirt, in plain sight now.
For even semblance of this form
Has been cast off, and no one bows.

No man, no king, no priest, no god
Will glory-hungry masses praise.
Becoming gods, men lost the great,
And shattered all they meant to raise.

And, yet, dear Providence, a Light,
Still flickers here, while Mercy waits,
For those to come who love the church,
Where a Cross stands still, above the gate. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blogger Goes Facebook-Post-Length: Part III

Back "home" safe & sound in Leer, feeling about 10 pounds heavier than when I left. Darn spatzel, strudel, and Milka chocolate bars! Hard to believe there are only four and a half days left to this part of the journey. Klaus and Sabine are wonderful!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blogger Goes Facebook-Post-Length: Part II

Monday, July 8th
Reichstag last night, police station this morning. Between touring and having our car window smashed and the gps ripped out, I'm getting a pretty good view into Berlin politics. Boat tour around Berlin - the fourth water tour this trip!

Tuesday, July 9th
Whether it's the castle glowing in the sunset, boaters on the sparkling lake, a delicious supper in an adorable alley~way, having your picture taken by a photographer in front of the Preacher's Pond fountain at dusk, or the periwinkle~purple sky at twilight, there is only one word for the town of Schwerin: Enchanting.

Wednesday, July 10th
Picnicking by and wading in the warm Baltic Sea. Is any felicity in the world superior to this?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Blogger goes Facebook: Part 1

Ok, so for those of you who haven't noticed, I'm tellin' ya:

Blogging on this trip isn't going so hot.

I mean, I'm willing to blog, I'm wanting to blog, I'm waiting to blog.

But to tell you about people, I want you to show you their pictures.

To tell you about places, I want you to see the stonework.

To relate hilarious stories, I want to show you the room full of doubled-over,{laughing} friends we made on the Reformation Tour.

That's a pretty big order for an iPad. Pics are a painintheneck to upload. And, admit it, picture~less blogs are boring.

Now, don't worry. I've got some great posts scribbled down in my giant-notebook-I-really-shouldn't-have-brought-on-this-trip-but-did-anyway, and in my journal, and in my brain. When I consider them sufficiently edited, I will grit my teeth and spend the time necessary to post them...if I can manage it between episodes of the K drama Charae is showing us.

BUT, in the meantime, I am more than happy to keep you updated in a very un-blogger-like way. Behold the depths of insight to be mined in the following sentences:

Morning in Dresden, evening in Berlin! Hands, ankles, and feet are swollen with all the least, I hope it's the exercise, and not all the delish German potatoes!