Keeping Track

Last night I spent a few hours with dear friends at LAX during a layover waiting for their flight to Hong Kong. It really goes like this: China, Malaysia, then Cambodia. They'll be in Cambodia and Vietnam for the next two years serving as missionaries. I left them around 8PM, and now, 25 hours later, I'm glad to see that they're finally past the halfway point in their travels. I've been checking in on their flight status approximately every three hours since 4AM.

As I watched the image of a plane make its way to various points over the Pacific Ocean, I thought that plane might as well be shaped like a heart. It didn't represent an aircraft moving at hundreds of miles per hour through different timezones and eventually into a completely different day, it was showing me where I could find people I love.

Every time I move, I find comfort in replaying familiar scenes in my mind. I imagine friends and family going about their normal daily tasks. Keeping on in their lives exactly where I left them. I imagine Ashleigh power-housing at United Way, Regan loving on Eva with Eli laying nearby. Meemaw is moving around from task to task, only to be interrupted by her favorite programs and three square meals. Grammy and Mammy reading books. Jake's parents are cozy upstairs watching something on television before bed. Mary Bliss sitting in the living room with her laptop and different bits of reading material around her, making dinner while listening to the news on NPR, or the sound of her walking up and down her stairs several times a day.

Certainly these scenes change. Mammy is in heaven now. Meemaw's normal days have been interrupted by [bleepity blank bleepin'] cancer. I don't know what sound Mary Bliss's feet will make as she walks around her apartments in Cambodia and Vietnam. Change is hard, and it still gets the better of me from time to time, but I've experienced enough of it to understand that change is one of the greatest catalysts for growth. And in that sense, I welcome it, even if begrudgingly at times. It will challenge me, and shake me, and chew me up and spit me out, but in my response to each shift lies opportunity for elevation. I gain a new view, a new sense of being, a new way of imagining.

Lewis and Mary Bliss will soon not have a way for me to track their every move, but I know that they are brimming with goodness and love, and it's not at all hard for me to imagine them spending their days sharing that whenever and however they can. You can follow their mission blog at Along the Hong.
(Face-timing with two young grandsons, the youngest of whom is shaping up to be an expert photo bomber.)

Counting the miles:

PS: Just in case you're keeping track, this is Day 299 in Los Angeles, and you know what? I've started feeling a bit fond of my new city.


  1. I'm so glad you're writing publicly again. I'm glad you got to see Mary Bliss and Lewis. And I'm so glad you're almost on your way to Oklahoma. (Also... I'm glad you're starting to feel feelings of fondness for LA.) Can't wait to see you soon.

  2. Love you. Loved our time with you. Laughed out loud at the "photo bomber" reference. Thank you.



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