Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Last Chapter*

I have quietly made my way down to the hotel lobby this morning to spend some time writing and drinking coffee in a real coffee cup (instead of styrofoam). It truly is the little things in life that provide real joy!

Nothing this past week, however, has been little. Relationships went deeper. The Word of God was alive and active. The Holy Spirit was palpitable. Goodbyes much harder.

There are too many tales to tell. So many would make for incredible writing -- truly, the stuff that novels are made of. But these are also the stories that are most personal and most treasured. When another shares life so deeply and so honestly, it is a gift from God to be protected and cherished.

Yesterday, friends began arriving at the school early. Most touching was a teenager who walked in rubbing sleepy dust from his eyes. I made my way to him offering coffee and small talk. Being friendly he quietly asked "where is your husband?" He, sleep-loving teenager, had gotten up early to come say goodbye to his friend. Spending only a few minutes together, he simply wanted one more goodbye.

Our good friend sat and talked with a team member about hunting and fishing as I separated leftover food and supplies into tubs for friends. Our friend is quiet and funny. He hung around until we loaded ourselves in pick-up trucks to make our way to the airport. We locked eyes and hugged and he would not let go. We did not exchange any words, only tears.

Another friend offered rides to the airport and after a few moments of small talk while we watched our planes come in said "I need to leave now. I don't want to be here when you take off."

Saying goodbye to our long-time friends, instrumental in getting our group into the village six years ago, was tough. None of us knows what a year will bring in our lives.

Teenagers loaded into the back of a pick-up and on 4-wheelers after we boarded and had us laughing by blowing kisses, waving wildly, and even doing "the wave" (something we had done in the teen Bible School class the day before).

"Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord." was all I could think as our plane took off. I leaned my head against the side of the plane and cried for a long while. And as I sat leaning with eyes closed I pictured myself leaning on the shoulder of Christ who, smiling with arm tightly around me, lovingly stroked my hair. It was well with my soul.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18.

*Thank you for reading this blog. I started this web journal in May to get the hang of a weblog before running our God errand. And now that we are heading home, it's time to give the blog a rest. Someone on the team asked our son during the week if he was anxious about something happening the next day. He replied that he hadn't even thought of tomorrow yet. He was living in the moment. And as I return to my regular life at home, that is my prayer...to live in the moment and treasure and nurture the wonderful relationships in my life at home.

God's blessing on you!

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