Yesterday, Leaf and Brendan moved to Chiang Mai. Their son Taran is going to highschool, and the family is making it possible by moving.
It’s only three hours away. And yet.
We’ll see them all the time. And yet.
They are some of the kindest, most generous people I know.
I remember when they came to live here.
I remember the first time I walked out and found flowers on my motorbike.
I thought, this is what it’s like to live in a town with Leaf.
Leaf and I like to sit by the river to talk. We’ve done it many, many times. Sometimes on the ground, sometimes on a little platform. The platform washed away in the rainy season this year, along with the bridge. We tried not to make too much of it.
Sometimes, when I’m driving my motorbike, I catch a flash of dreadlocks out of the corner of my eye, and realize Brendan has just whizzed by on his bicycle. When Isaac and Ruby were small, Brendan drove around town doing all his errands with them. Tubtim (Ruby) and Meenoi (Isaac- it means Little Bear) charmed the laundry lady, the market sellers, the landlords.
Ruby and Isaac act like siblings, tumbling over and around each other without paying a lot of attention. I love to watch them, to see how completely at ease they are with each other.
Taran has been joining our little group of homeschoolers for a little while each day, for years now. This group of funny, snarky, thoughtful teens is a highlight of my life. Taran brings the creativity. He and Kenya climb trees, make swings, come up with interesting ways to defy the laws of gravity.
This family is woven into our life. We don’t even have to let go. It’s just the day to day things that will stop. School together. Bumping into each other on the road. But we’ve been friends across wider distances than this. They got on a train and visited us for the first time in Goa, when Solo was only a couple days old. We took a train to them when I was pregnant with Isaac, journeying long hours to sit and have chai under the mango tree.
We can’t see around this bend in the river. What will it be like to have two communities instead of one? (Eventually.) What will living at a distance be like?
Right now it feels like loss. But I hope soon it will feel like expansion. Like taking a long deep inhale. Like more adventure, more possibility, more talks by the river, a larger space for love to grow. Those are the parts that God has to bring. I’m tired of trying to manufacture things. Of trying to control outcomes. I didn’t want them to have to leave. But God has different ideas, and he breathes on things and makes them beautiful. He brings the sparkle.
We can’t see around this bend, but good things have come out of the unknown before. Many good things.
Breathe on us today.