Our Icelandic summer is officially over.
Right now our plane is taxiing down the runway, getting ready to take off. The fresh rain droplets on my window are congregated in three straight rows and I keep staring at them, trying to figure out how that’s even possible. They look different…plumper, maybe. Perfectly round circles all synchronized with shading on their right sides. Everything in Iceland seems more magical.
How would I describe our summer? Amazing. Full of awesome moments, awful moments, beautiful moments, disgusting moments, slow moments, frantic moments, lonely moments, crowded moments, intense moments, and insecure moments.
It really was quite the ride and I’m not sure how to even process it all.
Pictures are worth a thousand words, but pictures can’t always capture the beauty.
…Like the sound of praise songs spilling out of a small church downtown…seeing with our own eyes the dream of ten years coming alive.
…Like the warmth of a hospitality you know can’t be returned, only received.
…Like the smell of the cold ocean as the sky gets ready to tuck in another day.
…Like the brokeness of hearing Icelanders pray.
…Like the wind on your face as you can almost feel God moving.
Yes, pictures are worth a thousand words, but unfortunately my Nikon broke so I don’t have any award-winning pictures from this summer.
But I have stories. Stories that will always stir up some of our most profound moments.
…Like the evening our family sat in perfect silence near the edge of a cliff holding hands and watching puffins fly all around…feeling like we were on some kind of sacred ground, joining this place in worship to the Creator.
…Like the time our car pulled up to a view so surreal and other-worldly that my three-year old spontaneously cried out, “Oh, THANK YOU, Daddy!” because she was overcome with such joy and gratitude.
…Like being in a room full of Icelandic children who were dead silent as I shared with them, perhaps for the first time, the greatest story ever told.
…Like when I took Gracie back to the row in Hallgrims church where I had prayed desperately after receiving the diagnosis. This time we prayed together, a prayer of thanksgiving, and I held her so tight I could feel her little bones all healthy and alive.
We are in the air now, and the water droplets have vanished just as quickly as the summer. The window is now full of blue and white and pieces of Greenland if I crane my neck from the middle seat.
This small blog post can’t even come close to capturing the depth of our experience this summer. We walked on active volcanoes, soaked in natural hot springs and touched glaciers. In this land of both fire and ice, I felt both extremes almost daily. I felt acutely this battle…the battle to kill the flesh, to understand rather than be understood, to serve rather than be served, to encourage rather than criticize, to listen rather than talk, to give thanks rather than complain, to cultivate contentment rather than be jealous.
The struggle felt more intense than it does in every day life (and perhaps that’s what happens when you live in close quarters with six people).
So, yes, this summer is over, but I trust that just as the rain drops don’t leave the earth without watering it and making it rich, so God will use our rather short time there to accomplish His mysterious purposes ( Isaiah 55:10-12).