We come home from the lake and even I am sun tanned as much as someone with an English father and Dutch mother can be. All those minnows and mornings on the quiet of a lake that’s seen my husband, his mother and his grandfather all grow up calm me. The quiet water washes over my toes, my worries, my restlessness.

Home doesn’t have to be the southern hemisphere.

Home lives in the memories of the people who wed their lives and stories and small white cottages on wooded hills alongside little Traverse Lake to us. Their tall tales take us by the hand and it’s OK to stop worrying about making life big. It’s OK to be small. It’s OK to exhale and remember that you’re part of something that likes to speak in more than 140 characters at a time.

Stones skip along with my heart as I watch my boys watching their dad. Or my baby girl up to her chubby thighs in ripples.

It’s a long time since I’ve slowed down.

I come back full. Full of ice cream and double chocolate fudge and cottage pizza homemade by Micah and his Aunt Kim. I come home over two days in a car with my people and the blessed DVD player.  The dog is apoplectic to see us. So are the lightning bugs.

This upside down house that has made itself at home on my insides is the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a week.

I keep thinking about smallness. About the courage to be in the moment. About women who fight to cement memories into the lives of their kids. Life sometimes feels like so much wet sand dripping through our fingers.

Sandcastles washed away without even a hope of making it five minutes, let alone tomorrow.

So we face it. We sit on the swing and set our faces toward the sunset and keep packing the memories one on top of the other. We build our castles, we tell our stories, and we stroke the hair back from our kids’ foreheads.

There is nothing small about these moments.

You don’t have to travel with Compassion International to change the world.

You just have to be willing to ache right here at home.

Sometimes on a quiet afternoon holding the hand of an aunt you love. Sometimes at 2am cleaning up four-year-olds with upset stomachs. Sometimes at the nursing home with your people who need your hands, your eyes, your time. Sometimes with the people at church who make you the most uncomfortable or that student who just can’t get it right in your class. That girl who’s mean to you or that husband who doesn’t hear what you’re trying to say.

We fight to love them by opening up our whole selves and letting the hurt in.

We wade out into the deep water so we can get a better look at the sunset.

We hope.

We hold hands.

We whisper with Job, the prayer of the aching faithful,

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.

And we pray God that He help us mean it.