How do you fit three years into three weeks?

How do you pour a grain silo worth of time into a teaspoon?

Slowly, perhaps. With lots of prayer to the God who multiplies loaves and fishes. You pray He will multiply the 21 days and nights into a season of memories so abundant they will feed the famine that lies ahead.

You sit with the dog who after only one day is already your best friend.

You walk mountain paths and peer into fish ponds.

You climb tree houses.

You talk late into the night over cups of tea and melktert and the exhausted snoring of children.

You just lie there in the big bed that your parents have given up for you for three weeks and feel the blankets wrap themselves around you as warm and welcoming as the house, the country, the family that runs in your blood.

You remember that homesickness is itself a gift because it amplifies the ordinary into a treasure.

Breakfast with brothers and sisters becomes a mental Polaroid that their parents will file away for the months ahead. Scooters and swings fly us all much higher and faster than the moment and the hot dogs bark as happy as the kids who wolf them down.

Ordinary is a gift we have taken for granted far too often. And after just one day we begin to forget to forget.

So when my just-turned-sixty-four-year-old dad {with his four-year-old foster daughter, Lulu, on his lap} opens the Bible after dinner, just like he’s done a thousand thousand times before, the words arrive with a smile,

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. Zeph. 3:17.

A smile, because there is no ordinary to be found in words like that.

Nothing about you or me or our routine is ordinary in the context of love like that. No matter what the zip code. South Africa, Stateside or anywhere in between.

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