It has been happening for a long time now. Aid workers have been leaving Lawra. Some return. Some do not. For the last several months, I have been saying "Good-bye." Sometimes the people leaving were close friends. Sometimes they were acquaintances. They all have one thing in common, they left.
I left, too. I left my passport country to live here in Lawra. I said "Good-bye" to family. I said, "Good-bye" to friends. I said "Good-bye to worship in English. I said "Good-bye" to being at weddings and funerals and life celebrations. I said "Good-bye" to a lifestyle.
I'm tired of saying, "Good-bye." I did it this past week. I said, "Good-bye" to close friends whom I won't see again until at least November. Saying "Good-bye" is the life of a missionary. People come and go. I come and go. Nothing ever stays the same. There's no "status quo" among aid workers in my area. We are always in a state of flux, as I imagine it is with most missionaries and relief workers.
When I arrive in the USA in a few weeks, there will be a ton of, "Hellos" and, "Aren't you glad to be home?" Home? What is home? I don't have one in the US. I live out of a suitcase, borrow a phone and borrow a car. And, just as I have changed during the time I have been away, so have my family and friends. Again, a state of flux. Even worship - in English - will be different because new music will be played, new songs sung. I don't get much of that in Lawra! So, again, I say "Good-bye" to what was familiar...and I try to have an open mind and embrace all that is new while secretly wishing for familiarity.
I will see a lot of people when I am in the US, plenty of people I know, some will be new friends. Again, there will be plenty of "Good-byes" there, too, especially when I will be in a place for a day or two or three. Except for family and a few friends, the comings and goings will be filled with those "Hellos" and "Good-byes."
And, you know what? Today, I am tired of saying, "Good-bye." Yet, it is a part of my life. A BIG part. So, I will get some sleep and tomorrow morning I will probably feel much better about the situation. And I will take comfort in knowing that the LORD is always near, never leaving, never changing, always the same.