Allison is away, so we went on a hike. These hikes can take my kids through many emotions ranging from joy on seeing a giraffe looking at us over the trees while zebras and gazelles graze in the open, to extreme anger on why Dad took us on this stupid hike. We did Mt. Longonot, and it was a joy. Five hours up and down with great views, wildlife, a huge crater, and the development of character. Here are some pictures on which you can click for some narration.
We live by the Great Rift Valley. On Saturday mornings it is a pleasure to get Allison, leave the kids behind, and walk 30 minutes out to the cliffs to look over one of the longest inhabited areas of the world. It is changing rapidly. Just 30 years ago there were zebras and other wildlife roaming through the valley behind us. They are still there, and you will see them sometimes when driving through it. But I do not think it is like it was. But I am glad we still have all the birds, monkeys, and baboons roaming through our neighborhood. On the very hike when this picture was taken, Allison and I found ourselves in the forest surrounded by a troop of 10-20 baboons. Luckily we had Chardonnay our dog going crazy barking at them to keep them at a distance. They can be aggressive, and it is wise to keep your distance. But they are so interesting, you cannot help but stop and look for awhile.
Only 10 more days until we leave. QT has become one of my favorite places. If you don’t know why you haven’t been. QuikTrip has been my friend through many thousands of miles of travel over the past six months. And I will miss her and her many coffees, breakfast foods, hot dog variations, slushes, slurpees, candies, hot foods, cold foods, ice cream variations, huge fountain drinks, and friendly staff. Good bye QuikTrip. Goodbye.
“A calling is sturdy. I don’t have to protect it. I don’t need to be afraid of not getting every step right. Obviously, we need to be faithful to what’s revealed in Scripture, but we need to trust the Holy Spirit. If a calling is from God, it’s not up to us to make it happen.” – Tish Harrison. Why Tish Harrison Gave Up on Being a ‘Good Church Kid’. Christianity Today.
There are things that are hard to explain. I find it hard to explain why we are going to Africa when there is a large part of me that does not want to go. I look at my friends and my family and I think to myself “They have got it right. Stay home in your own culture and make a difference where you are from.” I look at jobs in the US in great places to live, and I think “It would be so cool to live there!” I see that my kids are happy in the United States, and I wonder “Why am I making my kids move again?” But when I think about staying I cannot feel settled. Something here will seem so perfect, but it will not seem right. I was talking to my friend Matt about it, barely expressing something I cannot understand in myself. I wondered aloud to him that I see people’s lives and I think they are great and meaningful and worthy of respect. And I wonder why I cannot have that life which I think is possibly a better use of my own personality and gifts. Why can I not stay, when I want to stay? Matt answered simply “It’s because you are called. You have a calling.” I knew he was right; but I want my calling to be an intense desire to do something. At times it is. Sometimes I feel the fire in my belly to go. But much of the time it is an unsettled feeling that I cannot do anything else except keep moving in the direction God has pointed us. And I think it is alright. I do not see in the history of the Bible that every person called by God was skipping in eagerness to the work set before them. In fact, many (most?) times it is the opposite. But they did not stop because they knew the truth of what God had called them to do. And I know it too. God has called me to serve the poor and the hurting through medicine. He has called me to share the gospel through compassion. And I go despite myself, eyes wide open, praying for God to give me strength to do the work he has given me to do. Please pray for us to be faithful and to live up to the calling we have received.
The last couple weeks In Peru were a rush of emotions and business as we hosted my family for the Christmas holiday. Then we had one week to sell all of household goods, say “Goodbye” and move. I was so busy I did not have time to be sad, nor have I yet had much time to miss Peru. But one thing I knew I would miss even before we left was the hike to the Mirador. I would walk out my front door, go down the steep hill, cross the Pan American Highway, and then start going uphill for over 1000 feet. From my door to the top was a little less than an hour. There was not one single time that I made that hike that I did not feel so happy to be where I was at that moment. And then as I arrived to the top I would sit for just a few moments, take a picture, and try to remember the views as I knew my time in Curahuasi was coming to an end. I always prayed and thanked God for what he had done for me and how he had brought me to that moment. There is nothing to match it in Dallas, and I miss that hike and time of reflection, silence, and solitude very much. We benefit from special places where we can be alone with our thoughts and where we can be alone with God and his creation. And when we find those places they can give us energy for the next thing that is placed before us. So here is my post dedicated to the Mirador and all the special places we have had in our lives. (I got to practice putting .gifs in the blog.)
Today is the day for my family medicine board certification exam. I was actually certified in 2000, re-certified in 2007, and now I am taking my third certification test. I probably have two more in front of me over the next twenty years. I have a full day of testing in front of me. I feel ready, but nobody really likes taking important tests. They were a lot easier when I was a kid who didn’t really care about the results. I don’t remember having any concerns about taking my SAT or ACT. The MCAT I pondered a bit more, but I was to undisciplined to really study for it. I am looking forward to putting the test behind me and refocusing my attention toward the future in Africa.