Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Saying Goodbye

I have been dreading this moment for months. Officially for 7 months, unofficially, for just about a year.

This afternoon, our family said goodbye to our dearest friends. I said goodbye to my dear friend of many years, Anita and her husband Bryan and their three beautiful kids Elijah, Faith, and Mercy. They're not dying or mortally ill, instead they have been faithful in following the call God has put on their heart to run an orphanage for HIV/AIDS orphans in Maseru, Lesotho, Africa.

The Geurink kids with my kids. From right: Eli [7] Josh [6], Faith & Katie [5], and OG & Mercy [3]. 

And while the calling is great, the emotions of it suck. Anyone who has ever said goodbye to someone for a long time understands what I am saying.

Thankfully, our final time together (their whole family spent the night at our house last night) was not filled with sorrow and the bitter gnashing of teeth--no, it was filled with sickness, two lost teeth, stitches, and lots of laughter. I really love these friends--that even on this day, it was just life as usual with kids and messes and food and discipline and stories and needs and lots of humor. In fact, as we were saying goodbye, my youngest daughter (also the one who received stitches earlier that day) almost pulled my pants down to my ankles.

But still I am filled with many mixed emotions.
1) I am so proud of my friends. Bryan and Anita, you two have displayed extraordinary courage and grace in the midst of a difficult time of transition and planning. You have always been confident of knowing this was God's will and stood firm behind that. There have been a few nay-sayers (and in the early days, I was probably even one of them), but you have accepted this call knowing full well that God is in charge of your life.

2) I am sad--I will miss these friends dearly. Why these friends more than others? Well, all my friends are precious. But Anita and I met many moons ago across a table at Knollcrest dining hall. We were roommates in college, she a bridesmaid in my wedding, neighbors for four years, I was present for the birth of two of her babies, she present for the birth of two of mine. We have shared family histories, stories, many laughs, and many tears. She is the one who dropped everything and rushed to my side when we had to take OG to the hospital after she fell and hit her head. I was a blubbery mess when I called her and she called her husband home from work and drove from 30 minutes to sit with me in the ER. And both of us acknowledge that is exactly what friends do.

3) I am excited for the adventure this young family gets to go on. Come on, they're moving to Africa. is there anything cooler? More life-changing?

4) I am jealous. God has called them to sell everything and follow him, which they have done faithfully. He hasn't called me to anything like that yet. This time of saying good-bye has also made me come to terms with God's calling in my own life, and being content with whatever it is. Even if I am simply a home-schooling mom in a city.

5) I am concerned with the reality of life in a 3rd world country. They aren't prepared well for such a thing. I pray that God gives them strength for the many bumpy days ahead.

Luckily, regardless, I have great hope. We are united in Christ. Whatever happens I will see her again--whether in a few years as is our family's plan to visit, a few more years when they plan to return stateside, or in heaven as might be God's plan.

As is my prayer for them:
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:3-6).

Have safe travels, my friends. You are deeply loved.

 P.S. To the rest of you, check out their blog Our Beautiful Mission. If you want to read about what has brought them to this place, click here. 

1 comment:

lyn said...

Beautiful thoughts and honest words, Sammy!
I feel your pain! May God's Grace surround them in their journey of following His Call, and may His Peace and Encouragement fill your heart. Love you!