She arrived safely in China for her five-week internship, after thoroughly celebrating her birthday and shedding some tears with me until 1:00 in the morning the night before…and traveling for hours on end to get there.
But even through the late-night goodbyes with friends and trepidation about this new adventure, and also quite a lot of mourning for the family things she will miss this summer, that girl was resolved that this stint in China is exactly what she needed and also even wanted to do.
You see, that sparkly smiled Grace of ours had her own little “sacred grove moment” this summer as she searched to know whether she should head off into the wild blue yonder or not.
So lets back up to that. Because it’s a cool story that I hope neither of us will forget.
Dave and I had been trying to help her figure out a summer job. We had also been looking into some opportunities to take her and Claire off on their own service trip (like we did with Max and Elle to India back HERE). It is their turn and we had a pretty cool thing lined up in Guatemala that we were getting pretty excited about.
But in all our pondering and searching for the right fit on all the other things, Dave realized there could be an opportunity for Grace to work with his business partner and a group of college kids teaching English for some camps over in three different areas of China.
When Dave first mentioned it to me I told him no way. Grace was too young. It was five weeks. Only college kids were doing it. Too long, too far away. I shut the idea down speedy quick.
But that little seed of an idea churned around in my heart for a day or two and I softened, realizing that husband of mine was right (again). This could be a pretty tremendous opportunity for this girl of ours, and really, as I watched her in my mother’s eye I realized she was ready for something like that. She is tough. Who was I to coddle and keep her by my side when something like this beckoned to her from the horizon of adventure and growth?
So we brought up the idea to Grace.
She had the same reaction I did at first: “no way.”
Then a little seed of wonder…a few more details…dates she would be gone and bam, double “no way, not a chance.” We are hosting the Eyre reunion this year and the kids are pretty excited about that thing. She claimed there was no way she was missing that. And California with us for the 4th of July? No way. She couldn’t miss it. She shut that idea right out of her mind even with a few gusto tears pressing out of her eyes and went on with her life.
And I wasn’t going to push it. Even though I knew deep down that this was something she really shouldn’t turn down, and a calm feeling of peace spread over me every time I thought about that opportunity, I am stubborn and I wanted her there for the things we’re doing as a family probably even more than she wanted to be there (and I have to admit it made my heart swell to realize how terribly she wanted to be there for them…I am so in love with family bonds).
But it was really interesting to watch that girl of ours over the next few days. She would ask a question about China kind of nonchalantly. She would verify the things she would miss if she went. She asked again about the dates. Her heart was changing. The seed of desire was growing and starting to swell. I could almost feel it. And one night as we were talking through life standing in the kitchen she told me she wanted to go. She needed to go.
In my heart I know that a transformation like that only comes when someone is listening to sweet nudging from a higher source. She went from pressing her lips and claiming there was absolutely no way, the strain of it all gradually giving way to an incredibly calm resolution. This was the path she wanted to take. She felt the guidance I believe from Heaven, in such a beautiful and peaceful way it seeped right out to all the rest of us.
That didn’t mean she wasn’t nervous and didn’t have bouts of a few tears in preparation, but every time she thought of not going she was somehow buoyed up and reassured once again that this was a good thing coming her way.
Which brings us to the night of her birthday, smiles and jubilation leading into midnight packing and trepidation to confident waving to us from the security checkpoint to her confident and happy text this morning in all caps:
“I AM HERE!!!”
Man alive, I’m so grateful for the opportunity we all have to seek guidance and let it work in our hearts. Nothing else could have changed that heart of hers in such a beautiful way. And mine too. I hope she’ll remember all those sweet promptings from Heaven as she goes through the tricky and homesick times that lie ahead the next little while. And I hope they’ll sweep quickly into joy for all that she will be learning and experiencing over on the other side of the planet….the closest one to Max…which is her claim to fame as far as Lucy is concerned:)
Now we’re waiting with baited breath to get more details and watch those wings stretch out like never before.
Love you Grace Jam! Miss you already!