We left the Dominican Republic at 9:20 a.m. last Friday morning and I finally arrived at the San Antonio airport at 5:45 p.m. after two time changes, six bags of in-flight snak mix (Apparently the airlines can no longer afford the “c” in snack), countless Diet Cokes, and finishing “Such a Pretty Fat” by Jen Lancaster. (Hysterical book, by the way.)
P ended up having to be out of town to guide hunts for a friend, so I called my daddy when I landed to let him know he could begin circling the airport while I waited for my luggage to make its debut on the baggage carousel, otherwise known as Suitcase Roulette.
I made my way down to the Baggage Claim area, taking my time since I knew I’d have to wait, but then I looked up and saw Caroline holding a big, pink rose, with a huge grin on her face, waiting for me. I ran the last few steps, picked her up in my arms, and started to cry. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.
We immediately headed to the nearest Mexican restaurant because I was feeling faint from lack of chips and salsa. It’s like my body had been in detox for a week and was beginning to revolt. Two taco nortenos and a bowl of guacamole later, I was a new woman.
So I’m home.
The weekend was full of activity. We went to see Madagascar 2, we explored a cave, and spent most of Saturday with Gulley and her youngest son, Will.
I went straight from temporary missionary mode to mommy mode in 2.2 seconds without a moment to catch my breath.
But even in the midst of all the activity and all the laundry, the children from the Dominican Republic were never far from my mind. I’d hear Caroline laugh, see her smile, watch the way she and Will were playing in the backyard, and I’d see the faces of those precious kids that I may never see again.
They have left a permanent mark on my heart. And I miss them.
On Sunday morning, I was sitting in church and we began to sing “Everlasting God”. There is a line in the chorus that says “You’re the defender of the weak, you comfort those in need” and when I sang it I felt the tears roll down my cheeks because now I know what need really looks like. I saw it firsthand last week.
But I also know what comfort looks like. It looks like a handful of letters from sponsors that have been kept in plastic bags for years. It looks like children singing in their classrooms knowing that they are going to get a meal and an education.
It looks like little kids running up to us and yelling “JOHN SMITH??!!” because that’s the name of their sponsor and since we’re from the United States they assume we must know him.
I saw need.
I saw sadness.
I saw comfort.
I saw joy.
And it’s amazing.