I wasn’t sure if the trip was going to happen until we were strapped into the seats of the plane. Flight schedules kept changing. My hands shook when I had to call the airline to ask why our return flight had simply been removed from our itinerary. Yes, indeed it had been cancelled, but they put us on other flights.
“I am afraid that we may get stuck there,” I told my dad.
“Don’t worry about that, just come,” he said and I felt the same.
Our family needed this trip to visit our family in the States. Our kids didn’t grow up without seeing cousins for a year. Doing life on the other side of the ocean from all extended family is still relatively new to them. They mentally and emotionally needed to go back to visit and so did my husband and I.
Governments advised against non-essential travel. Essential is a relative word. Please do not think me dramatic when I say we believed this trip essential to our family, although I am aware many would disagree. We have walked a difficult road for the past few months, as has the whole world, and we longed to see our loved ones. I have been advised against some of the very best things I have done in my life and I am pretty sure that this trip will remain one of those things.
“I think that you are taking a huge risk to travel like that,” a friend said right before we left.
We are risk takers. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t have left our home and moved to England. God has reasons for placing people in families and the need to be together is real. We were extremely careful as we traveled, but the risk was palatable to us. Yesterday, we completed our mandatory 14-day quarantine upon returning to the UK and all six of us were symptom free. So, the risk was indeed only that and I love it when a risk proves itself worth it.
A beauty this pandemic has brought to my heart is an increased vulnerability. Normal is felt at a great premium, because it is so very hard to come by these days. The things that I once took for granted, meant more this summer than ever before. Getting to hear my nephew’s lisp in person, listening to my girls giggle with their cousins and getting to watch my brother ham it up on a slalom water ski have never been such valuable experiences as they were on this trip. I honestly could have broken down and cried at any moment the entire time we were there as it all meant so much. “I am sitting next to my dad for dinner, “ I thought and my heart thrilled. Leisurely Talks with my sister-in-laws, tea with my mom, card games and sitting on the beach with my in-laws were all priceless gifts. A distanced chat on the porch with my ninety-year-old grandmother will always be worth the journey.
Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
2020 has certainly been a teacher. Not knowing when we will next get to hug the people who mean the most to us, makes us value the chance when we can. This honestly is not any different than the way that we have always lived, because we never know what the future holds, but I am beginning to better understand how delicate life is. What has always been special is now unspeakably so. This year will probably go down in the books with a dark cloud hanging over it, but if wisdom is gained and we love a little harder as an outcome what we walked through, it will be worth it.