pleasant places

The move across the country was full of adventure as one could only anticipate with a full UHAUL, 5 children, uncle Aaron and two exhausted parents. On the second day in, we started out with the lovely voice of the GPS navigator, indicating that “You will arrive at your destination by 7:00pm” feeling that would give ample time to eat and rest and move towards arriving in Nova Scotia in good time… As the day wore on, the GPS would remind us how far we were moving away from our 7:00pm respite. The day ending with a rather frantic, yet comical motel rest stop at 2:00 am (we had to be back on the road by 530 am!) somewhere near Moncton, New Brunswick, frightfully looking very similar to the Hitchcocks’s Bates motel,

rest-ish stop

rest-ish stop

depleted of gasoline, cell phone power and energy! Jesse’s wailing from the back of the car to “Please just let me sleep” added to the noise of car alarm when I locked myself (by accident) in the car… and only Lily could figure out how to disable the alarm. Our attempt to keep a low profile so as not to disturb the other motel guests had eluded us.drive to Bog Road

8 exhausted bodies littered the floor and beds of the motel room for 3 glorious hours of sleep before the wake up call transfer of little bodies from beds to car seat resumed the next morning. By the morning light we entered Nova Scotia, looking at the tidal mudflats, the red clay and impressive contrast against the green of evergreens and rocky contours lining the highway.

Later in the day, we arrived at our destination: 409 Bog Road. Up a country laneway, past a pond, into a canopy of green maples, greying birch bark and weathered coniferous. Let the unpacking begin!

arrived at last!

arrived at last!

I pull away from the relocation agenda and all the tasks that come with breaking ground in a new place…I can hear the woodpecker looking for breakfast and the croak of the bullfrog. The flies dance in the morning light as they chase over the tops of the wildflowers and ferns. The wind moves from far to near whispering a message through the canopy of leaves. It is peaceful here. and after moments of busy, frenetic planning and packing, the movements of the family over the last few years, spanning continents and countries, cultures and languages, peace and turmoil, love and loss… here I can sit in the quiet and reflect on the goodness around me. His goodness to me. This place for all it’s foreign newness feels like home. And that is such a sweet and unexpected gift for us.

It is hard at times to accept His grace. Easier to pour it out and to give than to stand in a position of complete undeserving and receive it. And yet, He offers it. It is ready for the taking. Grace for the moment, strength for the hour, peace in the stillness. So much He offers us if we but have the space and heart to receive it.

The new work will start soon. We have caught glimpses of what this new work might look like and who we are here to help. African families walking into the ISANS (immigration services) building, with small children in tow, looking perhaps to be Somali or Ethiopian, a Moroccan man who set up a stall at the farmer’s market selling authentic cuisine, chatting easily and making friends with my sister who greets him with an Arabic greeting and we know there are so many others. We look forward to diving into the work and finding ways to make connections and contributions to the Africans settling or living here.

5 days to go until we head off to Kenya. 5 days before worlds collide again for us and we face the necessary, sweet and sorrowful farewell’s to living in a land and community we love. And yet we know that community is greater than location or position. The geography of the heart has greater borders than we could have imagined, if one is but willing to take the risk to enlarge them.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure- psalm 16:5-9