My late husband’s idea of handling the boys interested in his girls was not to meet them at the door with a bull-dog on a leach. At church he was one of the leaders of the youth and he told the boys that if they wanted to court his girls they would have to come and have a talk with him.
Many of the boys were interested in our girls but only one got the courage to show up and have a talk. One Sunday afternoon that boy came to the door with the purpose of asking to court our oldest daughter, Eva-Marie. What did my dear husband do? He hid in the kitchen and sent me to talk to the young man!
Later we would give Bengt grief about this. But what happened after I left Bolivia was no laughing matter!
On July 22nd Carina and I arrived at Miami airport. The people that had interviewed me in Venezuela were surprised. They hadn’t thought I would make it that quickly.
My parents were living in Northern Florida so we boarded a plane that took us to Gainesville and they met us there. My husband was slowly recovering from his depression, working hard on trying to learn English. We would take a short vacation before tackling the issue of settling in Miami.
One of the young men in Bolivia lost no time. Hardly was the plane headed for Miami off the ground and he set his plan in motion. He wanted to marry my daughter!
My youngest brother was a missionary pilot in Bolivia. I don’t know how he found out about the plans, but he did!
There was nothing wrong with the young man who had his mind set on being my son-in-law, but he had no means of supporting a family and certainly no way of handling a wife with a condition like cystic fibrosis. Of course, when you’re young and in love you don’t think of those things.
I don’t know how he did it, but my brother managed to arrange a ticket and he “made” Eva-Marie put a stop to the plans and travel back to her parents. It was an angry girl that we picked up in Miami! She was the angriest at her uncle who she considered had no rights to do such a thing to her. Later in life she was thankful for being “rescued.” She needed so much special care and that young man had no possibility to give it to her.
In Sweden we say that we live on “love and air.” Eva-Marie needed lots of special air. Her lungs were affected and breathing was a big chore for her. We would need miracle upon miracle to keep her with us. And God did just that, until the day she was called to her heavenly home. But at the time I’m writing about, she was everything but happy to be home!
God has given us what I call “the gift of forgetting” (Spanish: el don del olvido). The details surrounding this painful time in our lives are blurry. Why did I let my daughter stay on in Bolivia? She was not healthy enough to live on her own and certainly not in a condition of being a wife and a mother. Some people with cystic fibrosis can handle it, but they are few. Many do not make it to adulthood. And some have more severe symptoms than others.
My daughter loved Bolivia. She loved her Bolivian friends. It was heartbreaking for me to take her away. It brought back memories of the time when I had to leave Peru at age sixteen. We lived in Tarma and I had a flourishing ministry with the young people. But my parents had to go to Sweden and could not leave me there by myself. The night of the farewell at the church I cried until it seemed I had no tears left. My mother had to, literally, pull me away from my friends. A big piece of my heart was taken away from me. That is one thing I have not had the “gift” of forgetting.
When the wedding plans were interrupted it did not only hurt my daughter; it was also painful for the young man. Maybe, if he had been honest, and talked to me about his love for my daughter (Remember how my husband left it up to me to handle my daughters “love” matters?), we could have worked something out. But he went behind our backs and as soon as the mother hen was gone he went to work.
I better leave the “What if’s” alone. I’m sure many parents can relate with us in one way or another. We want the best for our kids. Sometimes we make mistakes, and I’ve made many! We can’t dwell on regrets. And that is where God’s gift of forgetting comes in. The sad and the bad fade away and the good and the happy shine bright. How precious that God helps us remember the good parts. And that’s what I’m doing in writing about our adventure.
The next big step was to get settled. Where would we live? How would we find a school for Carina, since she was a tourist? And the biggest question: How in the world would we get visas to stay in the country? That, my friend, is VERY difficult.
The God that guides, provides! Stay with me to see the amazing doors he opened for us! (To be continued)