The second night was one of intermittent getting in and out of bed as Phil tried to cater to his back pain by laying flat, which caused acid reflux to kick in, not once but four times - possibly aggravated by the Aleve he took right before bed time.
The third night was better but by Saturday, the pain was back and he realized he'd have to stay on Aleve until we could get home and he could see a doctor. By Sunday, Phil was feeling well enough to sit through worship and also Bible class and eat out. But Sunday night, after he suggested we go for a short walk, he casually mentioned that he was experiencing numbness in one of his legs. He still is.
This morning he asked me to pray for him before he headed out the door to a school that he was dreading, still walking somewhat stiffly.
Frankly, we'll both be glad to get back home tomorrow night and are not sure how we'll manage his next school, which will be the Tuesday and Wed. of next week.
To say we've been stressed would be pretty accurate.
But there have also been good times. Laughter, sharing, eating out, watching movies together, taking naps, hanging out at the pool (Phil sitting in a straight-backed deck chair while I exercise), and going to church together.
And there are mental vignettes that I think I'll carry with me for a long time:
Phil on his knees praying even though he was experiencing physical discomfort.
Sitting in a strange church, listening to a down to earth pastor discuss the difference between our finite existence and what we'll experience in eternity, when real life comes.
Us facing the window in our hotel room, singing a hymn of praise together, off-key.
Phil reading his Bible while waiting for the Aleve to kick in.
The two of us discussing passages out of the Bible.
And then the two of us listening to a neat FB testimony from a fellow traveler, sharing about her own bouts with poor health and the Sovereignty of God. How encouraging! And how timely!
I'm going to tell you frankly, without the prayer times, the singing, the invisible blanket of prayer around us, the encouragement, and the Bible reading- without those things, the laughter, the sharing, and the ability to enjoy the "good" times would not be happening.
We've got enough "what ifs" right now to swamp our boat, having been dealing with some issues before we left home. Or at least, that is how it seems to us.
Knowing (and reminding ourselves) that God's got this and that we are under His Sovereign care is huge right now. Knowing that there is also a purpose in all this is also huge.
And being reminded of the suffering of others, our brothers and sisters in third world countries, helps to keep our much more modest troubles in perspective.
This is how the Psalmist put it:
"I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalms 34:1
We are learning (after all these years!) that it's the only way to travel.
Praise and singing (even off key!). After this trip, our advice would be: don't leave home without them!