I have been waiting.
The dust, fine and red, coats the plants lining our roads. Sweat beads on my upper lip. Last night as my children lay awake in bed, I stuck my head in and reminded them to keep guzzling plenty of water, after a friend of theirs landed in the clinic for dehydration. Cooking in the warm afternoons in my kitchen, with my hair twisted off my neck, I’ve been praying, coaxing the weather. C’mon, rainy season.
My husband and I, kids in tow, were maneuvering at a snail’s pace through a traffic jam in our trusty high-clearance minivan. Our speakers happily trumpeted the Christmas CD my mom had sent, and we chatted, our energy high for our Christmas shopping in the city and the Christmas party of our non-profit (which, with the barbecue and kids running around in shorts, tends to look a little more like the Fourth of July). It was sometime after “Let it Snow” that our heads all swiveled to the driver’s side, where a man was banging—hard—on the outside of our van. Never a good sign in Kampala.
And that’s when his partner whipped open my car door and swiftly grabbed my bag slouched at my feet. My casserole dish skidded across the pavement as I unbuckled without thinking, standing between the unmoving lanes and yelling something very helpful, like, “HEY!” as he and his cronies ran away with my reading device, my phone, the drivers’ licenses from both countries, and our house keys.
I make it sound lighthearted, typing to you over a week later. But really, I just started sobbing, my hands shaking–which probably frightened my children just as much as the stranger flinging open the car door.
Author’s note: It was two years ago that our family received unsettling news that began an extended holding pattern for us, news which wouldn’t be resolved for another eleven months. That period of gray, unsettled twilight will stand out in my life as one where I became well-acquainted–more than I would have wished, for sure–with the chisel of God that is waiting.
Yet in an odd way, it also brought me to love its sculpting edges, planing away curls of my own impatience and distrust.
When I was last in the U.S., tinkering around in my mother’s kitchen, a remark caught my attention. “You know,” she said thoughtfully, “you and [your husband] are more different from any of your sisters and their husbands.” She and my dad are similar, too, come to think of it. She offered a few examples, and I had to admit: She was right.
If you’re new to the love languages concept, check out the 5 Love Languages website. Click here for 20 ways to express love through words of affirmation, and here for the post on expressing love through physical touch.
I’ll use “him” or “her” interchangeably in this post for ease of reading.
If you’re new to the love languages concept, check out the 5 Love Languages website. Click here for the post on showing affection through words of affirmation.
1.Put an arm around his or her shoulder.
2.Hug them in the morning, or when they arrive home, or to wish them good night.
3.Sit next to each other while watching a movie.
4.Throw your arms around their neck while they’re sitting in a chair.
5.Give them a foot rub.
6.Ask to massage their hands while you chat.
7.Give a home pedicure: Soak her feet, then rub, lotion, and varnish while you shoot the breeze. (I love doing this with friends on my back porch while we enjoy a cup of tea.)
8.Surprise your spouse with a massage before hitting the sack.
9.When coming up behind him or her, place a hand gently on the small of his or her back.
10.Grab his or her hand while you’re out and about.
11.Romantically grab your spouse (hello–not like a piece of meat, but demonstrating your desire).
12.Cuddle up whiile reading a book together.
13.Slip an arm around his or her waist while you’re running errands.
14.Give a scalp massage.
15.Surprise them with a gift certificate for a massage or pedicure.
16.Shower with your spouse, and soap him or her up and wash your partner’s hair.
17.Allow your child to sit on your lap and tell you about their day.
18.Rub a child with lotion-preferably a scented one, to help create great memories!–at bedtime while you debrief about life and pray for him or her.
19.Touch your spouse’s face affectionately.
20.Kiss him or her for no reason at all.