I'm sitting here this morning in my usual spot - with my cup of coffee and my Bible by my side.
Things have returned to normal again.
(Whatever that is...)
And once again, I find myself in a little bit of shock-and-awe over the events of the past few days. Once again, I find myself on the tail-end of an adventure, seeking to pick up the pieces of it all and scrambling to save them forever.
Because I'm desperate not to forget a single moment of it.
Friday, we decided to brave an incoming rainstorm and head south to the southern-most point of Japan to camp for the weekend.
Mick and I had to work on Monday, but with only a little more than a month left here, we cut our losses and decided to go anyway with plans to return early on the Shinkansen.
When time is short, it makes you do spontaneous, crazy things.
You do things like brave a windstorm and try to camp like Bear Grylls.
And when that fails, you do things like find a random Guest House in the hills,
complete with seventies wallpaper, tatami mats, and a view of the ocean.
And you stay the night.
You eat chips and salsa on said tatami mats and make huge vats of spaghetti to feed everyone.
You don't think about the wind and rain when you drive into the mountains to find monkeys and to stand on the southern-most point of Japan.
And when you stand on that southern-most tip, you don't think about the freezing wind, or the whipping waves beneath you.
You just think about how lucky you are to be standing there surrounded by some of your favorite people - completely in awe of your Creator.
Little things don't bother you.
Old shower heads and blue squaty potties seem like the most beautiful things on earth, and you learn to have a sense of humor about things that don't go as planned.
Smiles caught from the owner's sons freeze in your memory, and you feel like time is paused as you all sit and laugh over cups of tea late into the night.
You don't mind staying up even later into the night for life-chats on layered futons with a friend who understands your heart and appreciates your craziness.
It's all worth it because you realize that the bags under your eyes are sweet reminders of great friendship.
And you just don't care.
You spend an extra five minutes in bed, just listening to the sound of the birds and the waves crashing through the open rice paper window.
Your instant Japanese coffee becomes a delicacy.
When you finally do make it to the camp-site, you don't think about the bugs or the lack of civilization. Instead, you appreciate savor the quiet.
You take it all in.
And as you fry sausage after sausage on a gas grill, you even appreciate the smell of breakfast permeating every piece of clothing you have with you.
You find yourself collecting every piece of sea-glass...and drift wood....and every heart-shaped rock.
Because they represent so beautifully all the memories made. They're tangible.
And you want to preserve them forever.
And when it's finally time to go back north, you squeeze your family goodbye, and you enjoy every minute of the 2 hour bus ride to civilization - every palm tree and obaachan passed...every cheerful announcement from the driver and bump on the old roads.
You stand on the edge of the ferry and watch as the infamous Sakurajima billows smoke over the bay, and you buy bowls of curry udon just because they smell good.
Then, when you can't finish your bowl, you feed your noodles to the fish below.
Because fish should have udon too.
You realize how things like traveling on the Shinkansen have become so second nature...and you pause for a second to appreciate the simple thrill of going 180 miles an hour through the Japanese country-side...it never ceases to amaze me.
You appreciate the ease with which you and your brother travel together...and the moments lost completely in laughter on a quiet Shin.
You realize what a blessing he is. And how much fun you have together.
Then, when you finally reach home - you breathe deeply of that sweet, familiar, Iwakuni smell and you smile.
Because this place - this country - has written it's name on your heart.
And you realize that it's possible for many places and many people to do that.
Your heart is bigger than you think.
And you become so thankful at the opportunity to love so many things at once.
So you savor.
And you try to preserve as much as possible of this time left.
You do spontaneous things and attempt to hide their memories deep in the recesses of your heart.
Yes, when time is short, it does make you do crazy things.
And I'm okay with it.
It makes life exciting. It makes you appreciate
Maybe everyday should be lived that way...with an acute awareness of time's speed...
And with hope and with joy...with gratitude and with perspective.
Because you realize that a God so good to bless you with all this will surely be faithful in the future.
And that's an exciting thought ;)
With heart full,