A Caribbean Rhapsody

Rhapsody: an instrumental composition irregular in form and suggestive of improvisation. 2. an ecstatic expression of feeling or enthusiasm. 3. an epic poem, or a part of such a poem, as a book of the Iliad, suitable for recitation at one time.

My time on Saba was surprising; surprisingly good and surprisingly awful. Each day in large part improvised, because my husband was entirely consumed with medical school, and I was attempting to corral three toddlers with no family around, on a 5 square mile volcanic island. Saba is a love poem incarnate, hate and desire balled up into one complicated relationship. It’s beauty a dream, rugged and ethereal, and it’s people- where do I begin with its people?

Beautiful treasures, whose memories I am still plumbing the depths of, even now as I repatriate to the United States.

I wanted to leave Saba, and I desperately wanted to stay. I hated living there, and I loved living there; the simplicity, the beauty, the kind and unique community of people carving out their lives there. For every moment of frustration, there was a moment of awe that I could see the ocean from my porch, and linger on the silhouettes of the neighboring islands.

But so many days without peace starts to wear thin. So many days of emotional and psychological instability, start to tip the boat over. A marriage splinters when all the cups are empty. Parenting becomes toxic when the parents are too exhausted and beyond their limits to care. We tried to make it work, and in some ways, it did. I had a part time job that I really loved. I made deep friendships, borne out of adversity that are rich and meaningful. New dreams and opportunities were born there, which is partly why we had to leave.

Dreams that my days could ever inhabit less strife, were dying. I grew bitter at my “lot in life.” My children were exasperated, bored, insecure, and frustrated. Crying and tantruming constantly, having trouble sleeping at night when they didn’t used to, hating our daily routine, screaming and pitching fits at activities and outings they used to love.

This was not the kind of mother I wanted to be, and not the kind of childhood I wanted to give my kids.

The canopy became too exposed, unable to house our growing needs. Saba’s small-ness was both its blessing and its curse.

So we picked up the stakes, following the peace, its hopeful bloom pulling us back to Texas where the kids and I have access to more of the support we need in this intense season. Our separation is an investment in our future together, the hands and feet of our dream.

My husband has the freedom to completely pour himself into succeeding to the best of his ability in medical school. The kids and I have the freedom to explore and grow and fall in love with each other in all the ways we have ached for.

It is most excellent to feel the spaciousness returning to my spirit. As much as I questioned God’s invitation to consider a different approach to our goals, I now bask in the wisdom and reprieve of this re-route on a daily basis. My kids and I laugh much more than we cry.

I feel candles being lit in the coldest and darkest parts of my heart, burning bright now for the epic poem God is writing for His glory and my delight.