Saying goodbye last night, the end of our Mexico mission trip, reminded me of the last day of summer camp. I spent a week getting to know my new best friends… that I never saw again.
Last night was different when I realized I will likely see many of these sweet people again. Even those that are moving on where the Lord is leading them will be reunited again one day for eternity. This inner peace made goodbye a little easier.
A week ago, I stood among the graduates of my daughters class. Tears flowed after the ceremony. I could relate to those tears. I’ve not seen many of my old friends since June 1, 1985.
I’m writing with mixed emotions as I await my connecting flight, trying to ignore the television monitors I cannot avoid. Reentry is always hard and is getting more difficult with each short-term journey. I wonder if a midterm mission commitment will make me long for my own bed and shower. My daughter and I could care less. I’m just frustrated I need over 50 pounds of stuff for a week away from home. My thoughts vasilate between doubts I am qualified for this life and doubts I can make it in ‘merica, land of opportunity.
One thing solidified on this trip– the need to return. I looked into the eyes of the new friends I made and saw the question in their eyes, “Really, will you return?”
Next month, we will head to summer camp with the kids from foster care. We aren’t allowed to promise that we will see them again. So often that promise has been broken in their lives. It’s no wonder we are disengaged with one another. Relationships have become more superficial than ever. Social media helps but isn’t heart to heart.
This is the burden on my heart– to dispel the stereotype of short-term missions as bucket list vacation destinations. Those on the receiving end appreciate the kindness of people but illuminate when friends return. While I’m heading to a new location this fall, my heart aches to return to our communities I have visited and to stay awhile longer.
The ex that broke my daughters heart is a missionary kid. He asked me to read many articles on MK life when they started to date. Even though that relationship became another temporary thing in his life, the study brought awareness that I needed on this last journey.
I need to figure out how to stop grazing through life as an introvert… a wallflower. It’s not necessary to revisit every facet of my life, but it is time to let a few roots set deeper. I have seen hearts that need encouragement to continue ministering to others. I will find a way to spread myself out where He calls. Pray along with me as I try to piece this all together– like the kids we sent off from graduation last week, I feel a bit unsteady. I also have peace knowing God has it all figured out.
The goal isn’t about numbers, it’s about people. I don’t need to my friend count on Facebook to grow, I long to know we all have the opportunity of eternal friendships.