Sunday, September 30, 2012

tearful goodbyes

Seventeen prayer cards laid on my bed, accompanied by a box of tissues, mostly used. 

Through the window, in front of the view of the Rockies the MTI vans pulled back in, empty. The parking lot and rooms were empty too. 

I wept and wept and wept. For two hours I said hard, healthy goodbyes as new friends trickled out. I sent pieces of my heart to the Middle East, Africa, South America, Eastern Europe and beyond. A small group of us are still at MTI, staying two more weeks for language acquisition. We waved and waved until a skeleton of us remained. 

My heart felt ripped in two, my chest ached. People I have known for three weeks and I hurt so deeply. How did this happen? How did these strangers become best friends? I suppose it happened somewhere between a hostage simulation and late night card games. Or while we grieved the things God called us to leave, and we laid down the dreams we thought we had, to go out to the Nations. It happened in honesty and venerability. Maybe the moment it happened is when I realized that for the first time in my life, I was completely understood. Everything about my heart started to make sense here. Loneliness I felt for months faded and walls I built crashed down. God broke me down and is putting me back together with His love, with their love. 

I have learned so many practical lessons. How to exit my home culture and enter my new culture. How my lifestyle choices effect people on both sides of the bridge. We addressed conflict styles and how we deal with stress. We had lesson after lesson on how to handle the chaos that accompanies the missionary life, because the average person living cross-culturally experiences 2-5 times the amount of stress of an inner city police officer - and we must navigate in our new homes with Christ-like grace. God prepared all of these important lessons and more - but they are not the lessons that had the deepest impact. 

It's the people that had the deepest impact. There are not accurate words to describe my three weeks of SPLICE, I wish there were. I know there is something to feeling understood that changes a person. I know I feel Gods faithfulness in a new way. I feel like I have more love to give. I do not know how this all happened, it does not make sense to me. I am so thankful though. My heart continues to ache, it's all over the country, soon to be all over the World. 

So now, my goodbyes take on a new face. My family and my friends at home, my sweet support system is not all I leave. I leave everyone at home, and now I leave a new kind of family too. My grieving grows but oh my love grows so much more. This is a new love that my heart will take to Haiti. I will take this indescribable thing that God has done in my life and I will share it, because this kind of love must be shared. 


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