This past weekend in Kenya Tom, Lucy, and I rode in a bus down a hill dubbed ‘The Hill of Tears.’ My eyes were puffy, my nose red, my cheeks wet, and I held a clumped up Kleenex in one fist. I looked just like everyone else on the bus.
We were driving away from the boarding school where Henry and Maggie will attend school this next year and the bus was filled with parents who had just said goodbye. And goodbye. And goodbye again. And again…until our kids decided they had had enough and ran off to play football and tetherball and unpack with their new friends.
I thought that was hard, but sitting down to breakfast the next morning and needing only three seats at the table was worse. And I thought that was hard, but boarding an airplane and leaving Kenyan airspace for Djibouti was worse. And I thought that was hard, but landing in Djibouti and driving around town without them was worse.
So in the throes of the Hill of Tears rollercoaster, I talked with two American moms living in Djibouti who have children at boarding school. I spent an afternoon with a Somali friend who grew up at boarding school. And I was thankful (thank you, L). They know the ups and downs, both the potholes in this road, and the view from it.
We have a steady peace about sending the kids to this school but that doesn’t erase the Hill of Tears.
They have been excited for months about it but that doesn’t erase the Hill of Tears.
The campus is beautiful, covered in flowers, looking over the Rift Valley, nestled in clouds some days. The staff are talented, loving, wise, faith-filled, fun-loving, deep people. That doesn’t erase the Hill of Tears.
This is where they want to be and this is where we want them to be. They are going to have amazing experiences, opportunities, and academic, personal, and spiritual investment.
This Hill of Tears is also a Hill of Happiness, a Hill of Peace and this year I will learn to be okay with driving, living, on both Hills at the same time.