When Spencer was younger, in kindergarten and first grade, he and his family lived in Leon, France for a couple of years. He actually learned how to read and write in French before he learned to do it in English. This sounds so romantic to me, living in a foreign country, walking the french cobble stoned paths, playing on French playgrounds, showing my children a world that looks nothing like the one they’re used to.
Now that Ford is in kindergarten, I can’t imagine moving him to a non-English speaking country and and expecting him to learn the language. The frustrations they faced were never ending, I’m sure. I know their time there could not have been as picturesque as it is in my mind. But still, their time in France planted a seed of desire in my heart for my family to also live abroad at some point. It has always just been an abstract idea one day, when we live overseas… Lately though, this idea has turned into more of a desire for my children to have this experience like Spencer did as a kid. This experience that may teach them that the world is not Thomasville, Georgia or the even the United States.
When I was in college, I got to spend a summer in Spain. I happened to be there on the 4th of July, and it hit me smack in the face that evening as we had drinks at a local bar: no one is celebrating the 4th of July here. No one even cares. A light bulb went off in my brain, (as stupid as that sounds now) and this thought has stuck with me through all these years: the world is so so big and my world is so so small.
This Fall we met the guy who is the priest) of an Anglican church we partner with in Bumbogo, Rwanda. I was enamored with what he, his young family, and his team are doing down there: building schools, creating nourishing meals for very malnourished children, teaching people to farm, to catch rainwater. I love that they are implementing sustainable practices to help this community thrive. Hopefully this summer, Spencer and I will get to go see what that looks like with a team from our church traveling to Rwanda. (It’s a lot to ask grandparents to keep two crazy kids for 10 days TWO summers in a row!)
What I’m saying is, I am a romantic, I can’t help it. I get an idea and it seems like a great one (move my family to Africa for a couple of years?), until it isn’t anymore. Maybe this is one of my great ideas, maybe it isn’t. Maybe my parents told me too much when I was younger that I could do anything, and be anything I wanted to be. So I still think this, I can do anything, be anything. I found the love of my life, we dreamed of opening a business, God led us to Thomasville to do just that, then He gave us two beautiful children, a beautiful house, a beautiful life.
But lately I have felt this pull of what’s next? What if I’m feeling this stirring to live outside of my comfort zone, where my worries are bigger than ignoring the sales on the squares of my Instagram feed or if my pants are getting tighter or not. Where I am worried less about if my child is getting too much screen time and more if he’s getting sunburned outside without a hat on. What would it be like to live where people actually do not have enough to eat? To have my children see and know there are literally starving children in Africa. To live where every need is not met by the government or your own credit card. To see and recognize God at work, because honestly, there is no other explanation.
Maybe we will stay right here in Thomasville. Maybe we will move. Maybe we will travel and show our children the great big world a few days at a time. My hope, my prayer, really, is that I will keep my ears open to hear what it is exactly God is saying. To hear what exactly is this tiny stirring in my heart. I say I want Him to call out to me, to speak, but really, is there anything more terrifying?
Because ya know, the world is so so big.