Day 2. We wake with the sun at six o’clock, veiled as it is by a mantle of stratonimbus. It’s quiet except for the intermittent comings and goings of a pickup truck with an engine that sounds like coffee percolating. The day is fresh, the water luring. On the dock, looking into glassy water, I can see all the way to the bottom. I feel as though I’m peering into an aquarium. Small fish dart in and out of the swaying grass.
I’m here out of loyalty and love for Mike, because he’d asked me to come last minute and was so boyishly excited about being here together with him and our daughter Bailey. It still feels like their trip. I’m ill prepared emotionally and spiritually but present nonetheless. We’ve left behind, in addition to three kids, a tentative, upended life. We just sold our house, just packed 15 years of accumulation into temporary storage. Standing in the emptied house, in the bedrooms where I’d nursed and rocked all four of my children, I’d wept. I was surprised at the hold a place could have on my heart. Before getting on the plane to come here, we’d had an offer accepted on a new house, finished an inspection and coordinated a series of repairs. We’d been living out of suitcases at the behest of friends and family and hotels and would be for many weeks more. There won’t be a home to go to when this week is finished, and I’m tired. I hadn’t planned on a trip to Roatan midst an already dizzying summer. But now we’re here, miles away from the chaos and loose moorings of Tallahassee, Florida.
Without internet and cell phones, we are free to leave home and cleave to this week-long mission. Yet I feel needy more than able, tired and discouraged more than energetic and encouraging. If Christ is to use me here, he must certainly invade a weary soul with a love that eclipses my distracted, self-consumed heart.
There is no wind as I stand on the dock, just an amazing stillness. The clouds are so low, I feel cocooned between them and the shiny floor of Caribbean at my feet. I remind myself to breathe. A faint ridge of mountain can be seen on the horizon, across the water. I don’t have my bearings yet, and I’m not sure if what I see is the mainland or something else. I notice the birds again, chirping an unfamiliar song. Elmer has brewed coffee, and folks from our team are beginning to assemble at the kitchen door. An animated Carlito is awake and pacing on the porch. Elmer and Andrea make him wait outside until breakfast is announced.
I step off the dock into a puddle of sea, then onto the yard of sand that extends carpet-like to Casa Isabella’s porch. I can hear laughter faintly, the smell of coffee getting stronger as the sand collects on my feet. Breakfast is ready, and all I have to do is rinse my feet and sit down to eat what someone else has prepared. Friends at the tables. My husband and daughter waiting on the porch. A view of paradise. The distraction of home quietly recedes like the gentle waves that lap Casa Isabella’s seaside boundary.
We rest today. Tomorrow we work.