Monday, July 29, 2013

Too Soon to Say Goodbye

{a journal entry written four hours into the flight from Iceland to Alaska}

It is so strange that our longest stretch is nearly over (3 hours to go). That when we land, there are only a few, short hours of flying left before this trip, this long~looked~for adventure, this life~changing, 2~month summer, is over. I'm not sure I'm ready for it to be so. Oh, I'm ready for the thrill of being told, "Welcome back, Ms. Coder," ~ for the little joys, like being able to plug things in without a converter, and having a laptop to write with, and being able to hop in the car and go meet missed friends for coffee at Old Town Battle Grounds. I'm ready for big joys, like seeing and hugging my family, reading the Bible together in the morning, and going to our church on Sundays.

I'm ready to plan my fall, see my students, and hear how hard they've worked over "break" ~ to have our summer recital, and go shopping for Family Camp, and go to the fair, and make cheesecake. I am ready to exercise (!!), and work off those extra pounds that desperately want to be my new best friends. I'm ready to unpack the gifts I bought, to asess what I've learned on this trip, to sit and think about which ways I am now responsible to change my life, considering this great privilege I was given. Yes, it is time to go home, and run toward the purpose God is revealing for my life: faithful, passionate step after step.

And yet, sorrow is mixed with this happy conviction. Sorrow for the little things I will miss ~ like borrowing clothes from Kaytch and this infamous iPad from Charae. Like late~night laughter fits and the uncertainty of whether or not we will sleep lightly enough to wake to the alarm in the morning. Sorrow for the big things I will miss, like praying with these two dear girls, challenging conversations, and watching each other's back in crazy cities. We've shared tears, opened our hearts to each other, grown together, and, ultimately, marveled at Who our God is. This, I will miss.

I will miss gasping for air as we run after ferries, buses, and trains, bags bulging from our sides. I will miss the precious people we leave behind ~ even writing that is hard. Those I already knew ~ my aunt, uncle, and cousins; Sabine and Klaus ~ and those I was floored with joy by being blessed enough to meet ~ Anne, Finlay, DR, Catherine, Katie, and Calum, who opened their home and hearts to us. Oh, how much I miss you guys!! And Kirsteen, Andy, and their boys... This is a mystery to me: the fact and existence of the spiritual family in Christ. I cannot comprehend how it is that I can feel an instant kinship with those I did not know a year ago, a month ago, a week ago...and yet, it happens! What unfathomable blessings our LORD has given us, in this alone! He created us to desire fellowship, and then He gave us, His children, a deeper level of fellowship than we could ever understand. But oh, do we delight in it! I sit in awe at His design.

Yet, designed and gifted as we are with this special family, aware as we are ~ from a wistfulness in our souls ~ that it was meant to be forever, leaving can never become easy. I am sore inside with a longing for all those I love ~ both those I am going to and those I must needs leave ~ to be with me. Thus, naturally, my heart breaks when physically I must turn my back on some of these dear ones. On repeat through my head for the past three days, and also poignantly when I had to say good bye to my aunt, have been the few words from "Les Miserables": "It's too soon ~ too soon, to say 'good bye'." I hate "good bye's." This is not how things ought to be. 

On this trip, we have seen great histories and breath~taking landscapes, some of which I dearly hope to see again, but it is the people ~ my dear brothers and sisters, my fellow adopted siblings ~ that I really wish for. If we could all be together, it would not matter where we were. Soon, soon. Praise Jesus, the time is coming! Meanwhile, as I, as we, seek the paths He holds for us, finding our joy consummated in Him and His people, we find our hearts tied stronger to home with every passing meeting and love. I look forward to the day when we will all be together with our Savior, finding "exceeding joy" for eternity in His presence with my whole family. When that day comes, and my back is turned toward this world of crumbling castles and abandoned hills, I will have finally found the "good~bye" that did not come too soon.


Homeschool on the Croft said...

There really is not much I can add to that, nor do I wish to. You have said it all, more eloquently than anything I can say in this comment .

It was indeed a blessing, one of which we are still talking - constantly. It was a joy, and we are still smiling.

Will it be repeated? I have no idea. But God is so good to have given us all that wonderful experience of meeting, of having fun, of experiencing His love in our fellowship.

Haste ye back is what the Scots say. This Scot means it from the bottom of her heart.

Mikaela said...

Selfishly, I'm so glad to have you back!

And I'm so glad your trip and the people you spent time with on your trip were magnificent enough to make the good-byes difficult.

Lauren said...

Good byes are so hard, but even in that sadness you brought my thoughts back to Christ like you always do! And you'll have some amazing people to introduce me to in Heaven!

SarahJayne said...

Anne...yes, yes, yes. Still missing you guys. We will have to have a Skype day, soon!

Mika, yes, it is good to be with friends and family on this side of the pond again, too. :)

Lauren, it is true! I'm hoping I might be able to introduce some of them to you *before* heaven... :)