03 March 2007

Another Departure, More Goodbyes

With less than 36 hours before departing Mesa for 6 months of highly nomadic life, I find myself reflecting on departures and goodbyes. Yesterday, Tam and I met with Neil, a friend and leader in the church here. We debriefed the previous 6 months of life and ministry we've experienced.

It seems the nature of what we do involves loads of 'so good to see you again' and 'farewell.' It's bittersweet. We celebrate the embrace of friends old and new, then grieve the loss which distance brings to these relationships. It's one thing that makes me believe in heaven---the eternity of Kingdom living and the everlasting family meal we who are children of the King will enjoy. How could the relationships which have been forged not enrich us into eternity?

Anyway, we embark on the next stage of our stateside journey before we can return to England. This Sunday our Olds Silhouette van will be loaded up with all that can carry, and we'll make our way initially to Atlanta, Georgia for speaking appointments. En route we will see a couple of friends we've not seen in over 20 years! Again, we'll say 'great to see you' and then 'may God bless you and protect you until we meet again.' In Houston, we hope to see a cousin I've only ever met once. In Birmingham, and then in Atlanta, we'll see two families who lived in England and were part of the life of Dickens Heath Village Church. In northern Georgia, we're preparing to see a friend who was in our youth group in Oregon, and whom we've also not seen in at least 21 years. Along the way, we'll be in several churches, renewing old friendships and making new ones.

Does this make me sad? Yes. No. Not a chance. I think you know what I mean. My life continues to be enriched by the influence and treasure these people are to me, and even more surprising to me, the influence and treasure I am to them. Chances are, if you're reading this, you're one of them. Thanks for letting me love you, and thanks even more for loving me.

Until the next time I see you, an old Celtic blessing for you:

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

No comments: