I love a good cup of coffee. I have a few large mugs that I greatly appreciate. I am not a 6-8 ounces of coffee type of person. I prefer to get it all in one cup and make it just the way I like it, enjoying 10-12 ounces in one mug. I would be so irritated if I only had a small teacup to make my coffee in. I do not enjoy my coffee black, so I would make multiple teacups of coffee in order to enjoy the amount I like to have. A small teacup just would not be satisfactory; it wouldn't be enough. It would be extra work to prepare each little cup, but I know that eventually I could still drink enough to be satisfied.
The simplicity of a large cup of coffee is a luxury to me. This idea of drinking out of a teacup is kind of like a missionary going on furlough. You thirst for so much, and it comes in such little pieces that it seems it may never satisfy. You have a lengthy to-do list, along with a dreams and wishes list. You have favorite foods to enjoy, doctors to visit, old memories to relive, places to go, and so many people to see. With each item checked off the list, you are filled a little more, and yet that much closer to leaving again.
We spent four months on furlough this year - a much needed time to refuel, reconnect as a family, and build new memories with those we love. For those four months, we constantly felt like we were saying hello to friends and family for the first time in years - all while making new friends. Within days, we would say good-bye to this group of beloved people, and move on again. The only thing softening the sting of the constant good-bye was the anticipation of the next hello.
In four months time, we traveled through 22 different states in order to visit each of our support churches and see all of our immediate family. It was a tiring adventure, with segments of rest interspersed. We were intentional to carve out time as a family all throughout, and can truly say we enjoyed furlough. Still, it was like the teacup approach - small refreshing moments that were never quite enough. It left us longing for more.
As we returned to Haiti, we spent days - even weeks - talking about all of the fun things we did and the people we saw. We met precious babies of close friends for the first time. We quickly recognized how much you miss in 4 years away. Yet, here we are, back in Haiti, recognizing that we are missing so much. The teacup is never quite enough. There is always a longing for more, a yearning to go back to the teacup again and fill it back up. At some point, you have to walk away from the teacup and get back to work. Yes, drinking from a teacup is much like furlough.
So, here we are - back to work - and missing our friends and family. Our friends here are our teacup now...filling as much as they can while we hope we do the same for them. For you see, all we have as missionaries are teacups.