Sunday was my very first Mother's Day without any "chicks in the nest." Poor Greg had to carry on the time-honored tradition of bringing me a latte' in bed (he actually brings me one every morning!) and arranging bright flowers (a wonderful array of geraniums) on the kitchen table to dazzle me when I finally get up and mosey downstairs. He did a great job filling in for the girls, but their absence was definitely noticeable.
I was pretty mopey during worship, missing Jonah (I long for him more on Mother's Day than any other day of the year) and wondering what my youngest was up to on the other side of the world. I hadn't heard from her in a while and my heart ached for contact with Candyce. I wondered if she remember it was Mother's Day--do they even celebrate moms in India?
After church, Greg and I met up with Lindsay, Yellie and Krispin and we spent a lovely day together. It was too cold for the traditional Mother's Day picnic and hike, but we wandered around Sellwood and ate frozen yogurt and I even bought a sweet antique picture of Mother Mary and the infant Christ. It seemed fitting, somehow.
That night, I kept waiting for the phone to ring. At 9:30, I gave up the wait and shuffled sadly off to bed. I'd had a lovely day, yes. But my mother's heart needed to know that the youngest chick was safe. I fell asleep praying for my wild missionary child--and was rudely awakened by my cell phone at 10:45.
I reached for my phone and didn't recognize the caller-- it appeared to be coming from someone with a 913 area code. That didn't ring a bell and didn't inspire me to answer. So I settled back down under the covers--but then Greg's phone began its irritating jangle. At the same instant, we realized it was Candyce on the other end! Greg made a valiant effort to find his phone in the dark room, but by the time he flipped it open, Candyce had been routed to voicemail. We frantically tried returning the call, but were denied. Stricken, I listened to Candyce's plaintive message:
"Why didn't you pick up the phone, Mom? I've looked forward to calling you to wish you happy Mother's Day for days now . . . I need to hear your voice!"
I tossed and turned for the next hour, begging God to nudge Candyce to try again. But my phone remained silent and I finally drifted off into a disappointed sleep. I didn't even dream about my gypsy child.
But there is a happy ending to my story. Candyce made it back to that grimy pay phone the next day and I got to hear her chipper voice for about 15 minutes. How she can be so upbeat in 120 degree heat, I'll never know! She told me how she prayed for the deliverance of another woman bound by witchcraft and saw the Lord deliver. She asked for prayer for internal struggles with her team. She described the awful realities of the 30 hour, third-class train ride they will be taking to Varanasi on Wedsnesday. She told me she's been having intense dreams.
Then Candyce wished me a Happy Belated Mother's day, said goodbye and hung up.
My phone connection ended, but I felt recharged and reconnected to my daughter's heart. And suddenly my youngest chick didn't seem quite so far away . . .
"The other side of the world is not so far away as I thought that it was . . ." Rich Mullens