No. Never. --- Maybe.

That summer in Bangladesh? I chose that specific project, from a missions catalog that came in the mail. There were other trips, to more glamorous places: England or France or New Zealand.

That year in the RV? We chose it - to give up our jobs, our health insurance, our upscale grocer, the comforts of security and routine.

Those kind of choices don't really make sense. They're hard to explain. (Some people shake their heads). (Some people are even a little bit angry). Why not spend your high school summers lifeguarding and singing along with the radio? Why not stay on a safe career track with retirement plans?

It's the same reason why runners will sign up for marathons. In the moment, it is pure agony. At intervals, you feel defeated, unable to put one foot in front of the other. Afraid. Your mind must fight for courage, your lungs must force another breath. But the end result is humbling, glorious, powerful. You learn you can do it. Those miles of misery are overshadowed by triumph. Even as you nurse your wounds, you look around at the other runners, a shared sense of camaraderie and pride at being brave enough to take the challenge.

In the middle of difficult seasons, we shout: "I never ever ever want to go through this again."

But then you realize that "hard" is a good teacher. That If you take big risks, there are also big gains. It's good to step out into the unknown, into the arena of dreams and possibilities. You push your brain, mind, and body to new limits - and then realize you can go still further.

Most of all, it is beneficial to experience suffering so that we can feel compassion. As others hurt, we understand the pain of sacrifice. We dare not judge, but instead lift a hand of mercy as others falter on the course.

No. Never. --- Maybe. 1

Will I ever step back on Bengali soil? Will we ever do another RV experiment? Perhaps not. (I sort of hope not). But maybe we will - and there's a part of me that looks forward to that. Because I know that, with God's help, we can do most anything.

THIS IS PART 3 of a 3-PART SERIES. Read Part I and Part II

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10 comments on “No. Never. --- Maybe.”

  1. Such truth. It's really the hard stuff that shapes us and gives us the perspective we need to do whatever it is that God is placing in front of us.

  2. It took me longer than a few months to get to that point when we came back from overseas. And even now, I still struggle with it.
    I've also found that the people we are drawn to, with whom we really want community, are the ones who have experienced those hard things...
    Thanks for your thoughts.

    1. It's hard to explain too, isn't it? When I look through photos from our trip, I can't help but feel dread and sadness and loneliness...but also gratitude for the experience. We're still not quite sure how to talk about it - even with friends/family. So many mixed emotions.

  3. Great series...thank you for sharing a bit of your heart - honestly. It is brave and trying, and as you know, being brave and trying things outside of or comfort zone sound great in theory, but putting them into practice changes everything. And having everything changed can be a good thing, even if it hurts a little bit. Your girls lives have been enriched and changed because you let them be part of the trying times...such a gift you have given them!

  4. Love the ending to this series!

    As I always told my writing students, "Was it hard for you to write that? GOOD! That means you grew today! When it's easy, you aren't growing, you're just doing stuff you already knew how to do!"

    I can completely relate to the marathon illustration - it's a good analogy... and I have always believed it's important to say "yes" to some hard things in life to keep yourself moving onward & upward.

    With God all things ARE possible! I love how that's in the PRESENT tense! :)

  5. hard is a good teacher. yes! Jesus told us the road would be hard. But still sometimes we say, "really God? that is what you want me to do?! Don't you know that it will be too hard for me?"
    Whatever your next turn in the road is, I am sure it will be great (& hard!)

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