Leaving Bangalore with a heart full of regret was not the way she planned to do this. She had wanted to smile and kiss cheeks, and wave goodbye with her head held high. Instead she was sobbing into her husband Michael’s arms, and breaking her parents’ hearts into a million pieces. After two weeks in India, she and Michael were heading home to Australia. Her parents were not.
Was it only yesterday that Ruthie and her mum had sipped tea in the Tamarind Tea Room? The fragrance of crushed cardamom pods and ginger was still fresh in her mind, if not her taste buds.
Watching her mum carefully pour the sweet milky tea had been like re-living a childhood memory. Hadn’t her mum always made her feel better when she felt sick?
Stepping into the taxi for Bangalore airport, Ruthie slumped against the open window and waved goodbye one last time. What a coward she had turned out to be. Gail and Max were the ones who had dedicated their retirement years to run the Good Shepherd Orphanage outside Bangalore. Here in the lush green sugar cane fields, they now had a beautiful new family. Brown eyed with lashes long enough to make any teenage girl covet, Ruthie too had fallen in love with these treasured babies. Yet, something bitter-sweet was curling up around her.
Six months into their four year term her parents were adjusting to the heat and pungent smells of the subcontinent. They worked long hours with dignity and compassion. A visit from their only daughter should have been an injection of delight. Now here she was crying like a baby, not knowing when they would be together again. Furlough wasn’t for 3 ½ years!
By then, she would be…….someone else!
“It’s ok” Michael smiled, trying to encourage. “There’s email, skype…..”
“I know. I just wish I didn’t feel so angry. This is not how it should be. They should be back home, with us. I need them too. I need them more!”
“What’s that?” she asked of the package on the back seat beside them. She hadn’t noticed it among their baggage.
“A souvenir from your mum.”
Fat tears plopped onto her lap as she contemplated the box.
“She wanted me to give it to you when you had stopped crying,”
he said, arching his brows. “Have you stopped crying?”
She sniffed, nodding. “Can I open it now?”
The cardboard box was dotted with tiny elephants. Where had she seen that pattern before? Gently Ruthie peeled away tissue paper to reveal a brass teapot.
“From the Tamarind Tea Room!” she remembered examining the familiar looking pot. “They had these in the front window.”
Lifting the hinged lid, Ruthie peered inside, and pulled out a coiled paper. Recognizing the handwriting she began to read.
My darling Ruthie,
I know you are crying. So am I. But I am laughing too! Your visit has made me so happy. I still can’t believe you and Michael are going to be parents. And me a grandma! And don’t get me started on how excited your dad is. God is so good! There is so much to thank Him for. And these twins you are carrying are so precious to me I can hardly wait.
You will be the best mummy!
You must know that nothing would make me happier than to be with you when these babies arrive.
It hurts to know we won’t.
I want to share with you something that has helped me deal with the heartache of not being there for you.
Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8 (NASB)
Your father shared that verse with me just before we left Australia. I was feeling very sorry for myself. How could I leave knowing you were facing more IVF treatments?
I had to sit somewhere quiet and pour out my troubles to God. All of them. And then, leave them there.
There is no one better to carry them. He is the one to turn to for refuge, and somewhere safe to cry.
So go ahead and cry my baby. It’s ok. Take your troubles to your heavenly Father, and pour them out there.
Then sit and have a refreshing cup of tea.
And I will do the same, and think of you
Smiling through tears, Ruthie looked up at Michael who was winking right back.
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