All I know is it’s a good thing I got an extra hour this weekend because I needed it. Because even with the addition of the extra hour, I still feel like I am just barely getting everything done I need to do before I leave San Antonio at 10:30 Monday morning on a flight to Dallas. And then a flight to Miami. And then a flight to Quito, Ecuador.
It didn’t help that I spent a lot of Sunday afternoon taking Caroline and her friend Gabi to watch the Aggie women’s soccer team win the Big XII Championship, but it was so worth it. And then I rushed back home to discover thankfully that P had ordered pizza for dinner. But then I still cooked a chicken and wild rice casserole and a lasagna because I don’t want my people to starve while I’m away. I also made homemade blueberry muffins.
I never make homemade blueberry muffins.
Which is why P walked in the kitchen a little while ago and asked, “Why are you making muffins?” And I said, “So y’all will have something to eat for breakfast while I’m gone. Apparently I care more about that when I’m in Ecuador than I do when I’m actually here and could, you know, cook breakfast.”
And he just left the room, shaking his head. I can’t explain why leaving the country makes me feel the need to provide baked goods for my family. Maybe so if something happens to me they’ll have short term memory and say, “MAN, remember how she used to make those delicious homemade muffins all the time?”
In truth, it’s probably a little nervous energy that I’m trying to burn. My suitcases (Yes, TWO. This is very strategic because I found out that you’re charged $100 for a bag over 50 pounds, but only $30 for an extra bag.) are mostly packed with the exception of my rainforest clothes that are still drying after P doused them in what I hope was plenty of mosquito spray. I have a backpack full of granola bars and a book to read and a change of clothes in case my suitcases don’t make it. I even have a travel toothbrush in a special case. I’m very fancy.
But I don’t like leaving my people. Not even for cool trips to Ecuador with people I love. Not even when I know without a doubt that God has called me to go. I am a homebody. Not to be confused with a homeboy. Even though maybe somewhere, somehow I might be someone’s homeboy.
I like my house, I like my bed, I like my Mexican food, I like to take Caroline to school every morning and pick her up every afternoon. I like to be able to call Gulley every five minutes if I want to and I like to see P walk through the back door at the end of the day.
So why am I going? Because when I went to the Dominican Republic with Compassion three years ago, it changed me forever. It made me look outside my comfortable little world to a world where kids don’t have beds or enough to eat or clean water to drink and the amazing way Compassion is stepping in to change lives. And going to Ecuador gives me a way to help with that. It’s not much. A few words on a computer screen and a week of my time, but it’s something.
And, truthfully, I’m excited about getting to spend time with some of my favorite people even though we will be in canoes and among snakes and possibly a marauding band of free-range monkeys. I don’t have the-meeting-new-people-anxiety I had before I went on the trip to the Dominican. These are people who (mostly) know me and I know that I am going to laugh and cry with them a lot over the next five days. And I can’t wait to read Ann Voskamp’s first post that will probably say something incredibly eloquent and poetic about how “dappled sunlight moves through the trees, stirring soul and lighting the way to gratitude to our God for all his gifts”.
Meanwhile, I’ll be here writing, “Y’ALL. A SNAKE FELL IN OUR CANOE AND I YELLED A BAD WORD IN FRONT OF ANN VOSKAMP.”
But I’m also not naive like I was the last time I left to go on a trip with Compassion. I know at least some of what I’m going to see and I know it’s going to break my heart. I know there will be children I wish I could pack up and bring home with me. I know there will be living conditions I can’t imagine and I know I will be wrecked by both what I see and fresh realization at my own poverty of spirit. I’ll be challenged by the contentment they have while living next to the city dump and why I often struggle with contentment while I live a comfortable middle class existence filled with luxuries they can’t imagine, like water straight from the tap. I know I’ll come home changed and with a piece of my heart gone forever to Ecuador.
And that makes a part of me start to ache even as I sit here on my couch and have yet to set foot in another country.
So I hope y’all will join me for my trip this week. I’ll be posting here every single day and doing my best to tell y’all what we’re doing and what we’re seeing. The good, the bad, the incredibly humbling, the free range monkeys. I can’t thank you enough for all your prayers. I know for all of us going this week that our biggest prayer is that God would use our words to inspire others to sponsor a child (or children!) through Compassion.
And if you could also pray for safety while we travel, health for us and those we love at home, and that no snakes fall in our canoe? Well that would be great, too.
You can follow along with all of us by clicking on the Compassion Bloggers Ecuador page.