In a little over 24 hours, we hope to be in our temporary home. We're ready. Not physically, that will take until late into tonight. But we're ready to move on with this thing. We've said most of our goodbyes, some of them several times. We're ready to have our own space again, even if this spot will only be ours for 8 weeks. It will be nice for everyone to have their own bed and dresser drawers again. We're ready to be equipped for the task ahead.
The last several months have been both a joy and a burden, a vacation and a chore. We've loved the traveling and visiting that we've been able to experience during this down time. There have been some great memories made with some fabulous conversations along the way. But, through all of it, there has been this underlying theme of grief. Little things will sneak up on us, on me, and there are these overwhelming moments of grief.
Some of them are little things, the realization that snow cones and swimming pools will probably not be the theme of our summers in the coming years. The awareness that Chick Fil A fries will soon be a thing of the past. Michael's and AC Moore will be no more. Silly, but true, we've had these conversations. I don't know if it's the familiarity that I'm grieving or the convenience, or what, but sometimes I'm struck by sadness over these sort of things.
Things like climbing in the Suburban and driving out of the cul-de-sac can bring tears to my eyes as I wonder if I'll ever get the hang of driving in our new city. Or, when I start a load of laundry any time, day or night, and I know that the electricity will last until the end of the load, I can find myself overwhelmed with the realities of our impending power issues. I dread that part of our new life.
I won't even get into the people. Honestly, it's so very hard to say goodbye and even harder to lead my children in saying goodbye. This is all they know, this is all they want to know on some days, and it can be a hard, hard thing to navigate. This week has been especially brutal and I have a couple of children who are very fragile right now. That brings me grief. I know, because moving is not new to me, that there will always be new friendships and adventures awaiting, but they're not all buying that just yet.
This morning, we will go and face one of the things I've been grieving a lot, my church. There are so many things that I dread about leaving. Because of what Ryan did, we usually got the opportunity to work with MKs who were visiting. We tried to be active in helping them find the right spot and checking in on them regularly. I think because we've always had a heart for missions, we've always had a special love and compassion for MKs. Several years ago, we had a family who was attending our church while they were home on stateside assignment. A few weeks into their time with us, the mom stopped me in the hall and, with tears streaming down her face, thanked me for always calling their children by name. She explained to me that their children were so far out of their comfort zones and that every night the oldest one asked if they could please just go home (home meaning their host country on the other side of the world.) She confessed to me how good it was to know that we cared enough to learn her children's names and to welcome them personally each week. The American church sunday school concept was so foreign to her preschoolers and she desperately wanted it to be a positive thing for her children, because she and her husband desperately needed to have a season of corporate worship and refreshing.
That made a real impact on me. From then on, when I went to "big church" and heard a song that wasn't my favorite or an announcement that irritated me and I was tempted to be ugly, I would remember my friends on the mission field. I would think about how they were meeting as families or in small groups, when maybe they would have loved to have one service in my comfy chair. I began to see corporate worship more as a treasure or a privilege and not as much as a task.
Now, it's my turn to go. I know that we will find beautiful ways to worship on the other side of the world. I know that we will find those with sincere hearts to sing praises with. I know that worship in a mud structure alongside of someone who is a new believer will be sweet and precious to us. But, I also know that there will be weeks that I will long for the familiar choruses of Faith Baptist Church in Youngsville, NC. I will desire to hear the words from the lips of my precious pastor. I will miss the hugs of those who know me and with whom I have shared my life.
I am so thankful that my grief has given me opportunities to see God's goodness in my life. In so many ways, His mercies have washed over me. He has been my comforter and He has been faithful to remind me of His promises. And, while the changes are sometimes hard to face and difficult to process, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to go, even in the midst of my grief.