There are two strains of bloodline that came together to make me who I am. One strain carries tough Swiss blood. Farming stock. Those who braved Nebraska winters and the life of being dependent on nature. I love the pictures I see of them…I love the fact that they look not only tough as anything, but there is humor in them.
They came from Switzerland, my great-grandfather and great-grandmother. They danced in barn dances. They made a life that paved the way for my life. They were farmers, hunters and builders. Eventually the builder in them came to New Mexico. My Dad inherited the humor, the love of nature and the building. And the toughness.
My other strain is New Mexico tough. With a little Eastern elegance. My great-grandfather on this side became a law man and a judge. And a baker. Not a candlestick maker as far as I know…but I wouldn’t be surprised.
This bloodline carried lawyers and inn keepers and one who had a pool hall. A Sheriff referred to as Cincopor Jones because a Mexican came riding his horse into town during the election shouting “Cinco Por Jones”. These were city folk compared to the Nebraska line. And somewhere in there my mother inherited the elegance and the toughness. Her family line doesn’t have that kinda snarky smile as much, but there was humor there as well. And, yes, toughness. That Great-grandfather the baker was referred to as the Eliot Ness of Otero County and once captured Machine Gun Kelly.
Toughness throughout, but a mix of refinement humor. All of this flows in me, and mixes with the spirit of hospitality and faith of my husband’s family.
My kids carry more strains, but there is still toughness and there is still humor, and there are glimpses of the ancestors in them. Mom’s jaw in Maddie, Dad’s twinkle of humor in his eyes in Nate.
So now, I watch one of mine becoming his own person. All of them are doing it in different degrees, but Nate is taking a giant, galloping leap into becoming his own person.
He is walking in that toughness, humor and adventure of his ancestors.
He has always been fiercely independent, and he has wanted to see the world since he was 13. He has dreamed of going to South Korea, to Seoul, to study. And in three hours his plane will take off and he will be carried almost 7000 miles away to his see his dreams come true.
They won’t look like he expects. They never do. They will be better and they will be worse. So, at 3am as I listen to the dryer finishing his last load and see him darting up and down the stairs to figure out what must go in these two suitcases…some words of advice.
It’s in your blood.
Your heritage is one of adventure and curiousity…some coming from Switzerland to America, others coming from out East in a covered wagon to the West with a china cabinet as a gift for a bride. Embrace that adventure and curiosity and see where it takes you.
It won’t be what you expect.
You are going to have days when the homesickness hurts so bad you just won’t know what to do. Embrace it and be glad that you are loved and you love enough to ache when you are gone. We’ll be feeling the same here as we miss you and feel the void of your absence. There is no shame in that, and it doesn’t diminish the awesomeness of your journey…it just reminds you that loving always carries some sacrifices.
God created you this way.
Embrace the curiosity and the wonder and the love of other cultures. That doesn’t just come from your ancestors…it comes from your Creator. The fact that you want to know about other cultures and people is a glorious testimony to the God who created you…and the other cultures…and wants us to delight in each other. Love them well.
God is in all of this.
What challenges you have faced in the last year to get to this moment! The fact that God has put this desire in you is so clear to those of us watching you. You have never faltered in the desire to go, even though you’ve had lots of moments where you could have said it just didn’t seem to be working out.
I read this the other day and it sure struck true to me:
“O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt you, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” Isaiah 25:1
Whew. I can’t believe we are one hour from driving to the airport. I hope the laundry is done. I hope I don’t blubber and cry and embarrass you at the airport.
I hope you know how loved you are.
I hope you know how ready for this moment you are.
I have to include a Buechner quote (yes, it is often used, but that is because it rings so true):
The grace of God means something like: “Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are, because the party wouldn’t be complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.”
There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you’ll reach out and take it.
Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.”
Seoul…he’s almost on his way. He’s been waiting for this moment for years. Be kind to him. He’s rather special and loved. Just wait. You’ll see.