Our summer plans got derailed in a millisecond this morning. Across the world, my brother-in-law is in the hospital battling some kind of blood infection in his legs, so he made the difficult decision to cancel his trip west next week. Yes, next week. He and his half-his-size wife were due to arrive here the day after school ends for the summer. We've been in a whirlwind of preparations...at least in our minds. We've have all manner of things planned for their long visit with us. J and I were all set to organize and move J out of his room for the duration this week. Box up J's superfluous belongings, store them in the cellar, clean the room of 'boy smells' and ready it for the incoming Finns. But in one phone call, all that changed.
Our summer changed. Now what looked like company for the whole of it, looks like a long stretch of "What are we going to do with ourselves?" And that's a very strange feeling.
There's concern about Beve's older brother, obviously. Finland is a long ways away from here. He had a similar problem earlier this year, and we didn't understand much of what was wrong with him then--what caused it, what solved it, why it lasted so long. After 31 years in Finland, older brother has learned Finnish, of course, and doesn't know the English translation for all the medical things the doctors tell him. At least I think that's why he's been so vague with us. But his reticence is legendary and I do well to remember that as I write here, and NOT share a story that isn't mine to share.
What IS my story is how unmoored we suddenly feel by this change in our summer plans. Beve and I are not planners by nature. We don't plan our vacations years ahead of time, but we do open our home every summer. In the winter, I tend to close up, cuddle in by the fire and hibernate. That's the truth of it. I'm a hermit and I like the quiet of cold, rainy days alone in my house. There is nothing so soothing as such days to me. I am, after all, a creature of my country. I'm a person of the Pacific Northwest, and if I didn't love rain on my window, I shouldn't live here at all.
But that's not the only reason I'm a creature of this country. I love that I live among the trees and marine air gives us natural air-conditioning on all but the hottest of days, and we can live with windows open to the wonderful air outside. And as the days lengthen and the sun comes out, our front, back and French doors are left open and we respond to whoever comes through them. We have a whole host of friends who barely (or never) knock when they come to our house. They simply come on in, wander through until they find us and yes, we respond to whoever shows up without too much fuss (though Beve would say I fuss a great deal as I make sure our home is tidy and inviting). Mostly, though, summer is about being with whoever is here.
And now, as I'm sitting here, thinking about the blank month where their visit sits on our calendar, I wonder what and who God will bring through our doors instead. What does He have in mind?
What does He have in store for YOU this summer? Big plans? Big moves?
Feasts or picnics?
Where will these next three months find you?
I'm baffled at the moment that it won't be what we thought it would...
but maybe it'll be even better.