Throwback Thursday features my husband’s description of our family moving to Kenya for a year in 1990, from the Introduction to his book about that year, Unfamiliar Territory.

It was only one year. From this side of it, it seems absurd to have wrestled with it as much as I did, but at the time, spending that year in that way seemed like a high-risk venture. It is only now, looking back ten (now, 25) years later, that I see just exactly what the risk really was. In reality, the greatest risk was that which comes of listening too carefully to common sense and making ordinary choices. A risk made all the more dangerous by the fact that it tends to masquerade as being no risk at all. The greatest risk we faced was that we might have said no and missed the year altogether. It was a year of living out of context. A year of living in unfamiliar territory, and something about being there, without the familiar props of our personal culture, distilled us down to our simple selves. Evenings that before had been jammed full of perfectly good things like work and Brownies and gymnastics and church, would give way to evenings filled with something even better—one another. The year would become the line running through the middle of our family’s life. It was time outside of time. A time that stripped us of all things familiar, leaving us holding to nothing else except the unshakable essence of three things: our essential love for one another, our most basic faith, and our own unspoken hopes. It was our time, it was a gift, and by it we would measure the rest of our days.

Judge, James (2001). Introduction of Unfamiliar Territory (Kindle Locations 63-69). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

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