In this year of “firsts”, I felt my last great challenge was returning with my sons to visit the last place we lived overseas as a complete family — Egypt. Not only was this the place we had lived the longest during our 20 years overseas, but it was also my husband’s native land. We spent six beautiful years in the city that never sleeps, and saw God do amazing things during those days. Yet, Egypt was not only a place we served, but it was home, where we were surrounded by close and extended Ghattas family members.
One of the reasons we sought to live there, was because of family, as Raouf was spending more and more time traveling, and he wanted me to have people near who could help with the boys or if anything happened while he was away. They were there…time and time again, and I was always grateful for their love and support.
Now, as part of David’s graduation gift, we returned for a ten-day visit. When asked what we were planning to do, all we could say was “eat”, as all three of us had missed the good food we so loved. However, while the boys did want to see some friends and have fun, I truly put very little thought into the trip before we left. Thus, I found myself thinking the day before we left — what is it I want to do?
While I perhaps should have planned better, all I could think of was — I just want to see our family and to know they are doing OK, and for them to know that we’re doing OK. In Arabic, we say: للاطمئنان على لك. (attamin aleyk) I just want to check on you. So, that’s what this trip was for me — the trip of caring, checking on, comforting — me them, them me.
Sometimes, that’s what we need to do in the grief journey — just check on each other. I do it with my sister, since our dad passed away. We don’t say much, just hug or ask how we’re doing. I do it with my friend, who’s lost her mom this last year. She does it with me. A quick call, a meal out…just checking. We don’t have to go half-way around the world to do it, but I did…because I needed to attamin on my family, and let them attamin on me. It was worth it.
Grace and Peace