A week ago today we were waking up to the sound of roosters and barking dogs just miles from the equator for the first time in four years. It is hard to believe that that much time has passed since we moved back to the US after our first two years in Quito.
We headed south to attend a regional retreat for Covenant missionaries from Ecuador and Colombia. It was a great few days reconnecting with colleagues and exploring possibilities for our future. Our days were full of many deep breaths, both literal and figurative, as we look ahead to living our life once again nearly 2 miles up in the Andes mountains.
A few weeks ago I realized that these years that we have been in Chicago make up the longest stretch of days I have lived without being in Latin America since I first stepped foot there when I was 15 years old. Time has crept along slowly and placed a distance I didn’t even notice between me and this region of our great globe that has been so important and foundational for me. And I think that both the miles and the minutes that have separated me from this place slowly made me forget.
And when we forget, there is nothing quite like the gift of that which helps us to remember.
This side of our move back to Ecuador is steeped in grief and nearly constant reminders of what will be left behind. My thoughts are often drawn into imagining all of the inevitable good-byes that are on our horizon with little room left to reach back and remember.
These fast and full four days were just what I needed. I needed to be reminded. I needed to smell the scent of the laundry detergent. I needed to hug a dear friend that I haven’t touched since our move back to the States. I needed to drink fresh squeezed juice with my breakfast and listen Andean music played on flutes and pan pipes. I needed to feel the intensity of the sun at the equator on my face and see the wrinkled brown skin of the old man sitting outside the corner store watching the world go by. I needed to hear Spanish spoken in surround sound and watch a thunder storm roll in off the mountains and remember.
It is truly no wonder that God calls us again and again to make space and remember. We so easily forget.