“Remember that place we stayed in Homer, Alaska?” Brad says. “How there were seals right outside our window and we’d walk the beach and watch the whales?”
I do. We traveled there from our bush Alaska home of seven months. It was late fall, cold already but also low season, so few people were there to see what we saw. It felt crazy and magical and romantic.
Alaska—our brief home 12 years ago—seems so far from this Indonesian night of power outages and sticky humidity.
“Remember when Evan was just a few days old and we were staying in that tiny apartment in Singapore, and he wouldn’t sleep more than 20 minutes at a time at night?” I say back to Brad. “He’d cry and cry and we spent three exhausting nights taking turns with him, until finally, one of us figured out that he might be cold. So, we moved him to another room without air conditioning. He slept for six hours straight.”
We’d felt vulnerable and scared, but then we felt like rock stars. And yet we knew we’d gotten ourselves in over our heads with this parenting thing … and would need to work as a team more than ever.
Brad and I share stories like this, especially on days when life feels hard or the power has been out for hours and there’s nothing else to do other than grumble … or remember. This overseas life has given us some particularly cool memories to choose from—swimming with manta rays, hiking volcanoes, having our babies in an Asian hospital where the post-partum meal choices are Chinese, Indian or a sandwich.
Some memories we pull out as a comfort—like the time at the cabin in Colorado on furlough, all cozy by a fireplace. Some remind us of when we were scared but things turned out OK—the time our 1-year-old had dengue fever. Some we tell again to remind us of when we had courage—like that first time we stepped onto the China Airlines flight that took us from LAX to Jakarta.
It’s a game, a way to connect and pass the time. But it’s more than that. We remember so we don’t forget that today’s struggles and fears are tomorrow’s legends of courage and God’s goodness and hope.