January 6, 2004
This morning I am tasting the mercy of God helping me wait for word that James has arrived in the States safely. We left the village early so that we could enjoy a final farewell dinner with him. Since our arrival in Kampala, he had wanted to try this Indian restaurant that was on the top floor of the “mall” in Kampala. We decided that would be the place to celebrate our time together in Africa and his beginning again at Grove City. The view was spectacular, and the setting of the restaurant was very festive. We had the whole restaurant to ourselves since we were eating so early no one else was in the place. James seemed a little nervous but was intent on being upbeat. It turned out to be a lovely, lingering time. The food was excellent but scorching hot– we compensated by ordering the large bottled water to help douse the flames on our tongues! That was a great idea until we faced the reality of what it would feel like to travel for 40 minutes to Entebbe Airport, over potholed roads, after consuming 2 liters of water! Casey was seriously uncomfortable on the trip and I think her pain allowed me to forget the unavoidable pain that was ahead for my heart. We had to make one of those quick good-byes because of the airport security in Entebbe. I longed to be able to sit with him until time to board but it was not to be. I thought I caught a glimpse of fear in his eyes and I almost grabbed him and said, “Don’t go.”
It killed me to look on that but he pressed on and said he would call as soon as he could. We didn’t have an international card to give him so I think his plan was to call you and ask you to give us a quick call to let us know he has arrived at Dulles. We have learned that Mike’s Honda was not starting and so Cindy and her husband are trying to get that repaired before James has to head back to PA.
Jane, James has a very tender fondness and respect for you. I think he would truly appreciate knowing that someone was thinking about him and willing to give him a call to let him know that. The truth is, I would appreciate knowing that someone closer than me is watching out for him. This is hard.
As we have shared before, I can be as miserable as I want to be and there are times when I give in and get pretty miserable. More often I am thinking,
“Lissa is God still God?”
“Can He care for James in your absence or not?”
“Can He care for Him better than you can?”
“Is the joy of the Lord my strength or did my joy go with James?”
“Lissa, are you so faithless that you consider yourself mistreated in this separation?”
“Lissa, do you believe that I will never leave you or forsake you? Do you believe that for James as well?”
I find the rehearsal of truth moves me on and brings to my aching heart strong comfort that I need. You and I have often talked about how there is no help in sitting around describing the pain–it only gets deeper and worse–I know this is a grace from God and I am thankful.
Today I will go to SOS to get 2 children immunized. There I will encounter Sister Immaculate. She is a heavy set Ugandan woman who dresses in the old style white nurse’s uniform. When I think of my past encounters with her, the words “gruff” and “severe” come to mind. Her way is to sort of bark orders at you but she will smile every now and again if she feels so inclined. I find myself trying to coax a smile from her! I hope the day at the desk will bear much fruit in lesson preparation my friend.
I love you bunches–lissa