Saturday, July 30, 2011


The correct answer is what??
Oh my goodness, Alaska with family is a beautiful thing! After not being together for two years, the Ooms family--complete with Zack's fiancee, Leigh--headed waaaaay up to Anchorage, Alaska to enjoy each other's company, meet the newest member, and camp in this great wilderness.

Highlights for me included talking late into the night as the sun nearly set, getting into camping again after several years of being city-fied, and reveling in the sight of Denali (a.k.a. Mt. McKinley), the highest peak in North America. Alaska is a strange and glorious place unlike any other locale I've experienced.

Check out the always concise and creative commentary and (more) photos of my dear sisters-in-law, Anne and Leigh. Really, visit Anne's blog to appreciate the photography skills of my family and catch a glimpse of the last frontier.

Denali National Park is only open to official bus traffic.
There it is! Denali.

We had a wonderful time together, but this vacation did bring out the deep reality of the "daily goodbye".  I had to come to terms, again, with the distance, the leaving, the separation through which we live. In the midst of laughter, dinner preparation, and Zack and Leigh's bridal registry, I was caught off guard by and wrestled with how very different my life in Hungary is and how much I miss by living so far from family. The truth of the situation wasn't new, but its depth occasionally surprised me. It's worth it, make no mistake, but missing day-to-day life with family is painful.  Our rich time together brought this truth to my mind and heart again and again.

After the difficult departure from the U.S. in a little over a week, I will be very thankful to enter back into life and ministry at the International Christian School of Budapest. Then, each day with students, neighbors, and friends will serve as a reminder that I don't give up family because God wants me to sacrifice. I don't face the daily goodbye in order to prove my faith or earn God's love.

No. I get to embrace a life lived by the Holy Spirit in me. I get to reflect on a God who gave up his family to come in human form and rescue me. I get to work toward and await an eternal home where I will worship a loving Heavenly Father alongside my family and my students and people I have yet to meet. The temporary sadness is real but so is the eternal reward.

Until then, I'll enjoy the family time we're given, work through the goodbyes, and laugh and weep with the God of the universe who carved the mountains, knows my heart's cry, and is planning a glorious ever after.


Marcia said...

Love your post, Audrey. I'm so glad you were able to spend time with your whole family in Alaska. I hope I'll get to catch you on one of these visits--or perhaps in Budapest! God bless you and your work as you return.

Kim said...

Audrey, I love that I can hear your heart when you write. I am praying for you as you enjoy these last few days in the US and then head back to your life and ministry in Budapest. Lots of love from Bloomington! :o)

Jennifer said...

Beautiful post, Audrey... thanks for sharing. I'm glad you got that rich time with your family. I'll be praying for your adjustment back.

anniemaringo said...

A woman recently wrote an article for The Well (the IVCF website) about home and the longing for it when you become multicultural:

She includes the T.S. Elliot line: “And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time.”

Love you.