I’ll Start With Goodbye

This’ll be the first in our “Turnback Tuesday” series (my version of “throwback thursday”, because…today is Tuesday!)! We’ll see how it goes. The idea is to post an old blog, pictures, or reminisces from years past, especially if they relate to the theme of the unconventional village. Enjoy, and comment below regarding how you feel about saying “goodbye”.

I wrote this in 2015 during our first stateside assignment (furlough) home from Japan. It was the first post in my attempt (failed) to start blogging again.

I’ve felt compelled to start writing about our journey for a while, but haven’t. For the same reasons I don’t do a lot of things – too busy, too tired, not good enough, don’t know where to start, etc. But today I figured out where to start, and I know that if I have the time and energy to watch Netflix and browse Facebook, I can do this. I’ll start with goodbye.

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Today – less than an hour ago, actually – I said goodbye to my family. The family I grew up with and feel totally and completely comfortable with. The ones I call Mom and Dad and 3 of my sisters and my youngest brother. I climbed in the minivan with my other family, my husband and my three sweet children, and we waved as we drove away, not knowing when the next time we’ll see them will be. I cried. A lot.

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I’m tired of the euphemisms for saying goodbye: “see you later”, “goodbye for now”, etc. The hard truth is that because of the life we’ve chosen, we say real goodbyes every few years, sometimes more often than even that, to people we love and want to be around often. And, while I’m blessed to know that for most of my family even if I don’t see them again on this earth it’s still not goodbye forever, the reality is that there are people we say goodbye to without knowing if we’ll ever see them again – in this life or the next.

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It’s a big sacrifice, this leaving thing. I’m not sure everyone understands that. I know it’s hard to be the one that’s left, but it’s also hard to be the one leaving. It’s hard to be the one that’s causing the pain. It’s hard to be the one who is going to miss graduations, weddings, births, funerals…not to mention all the holidays and birthdays. The world is smaller now, but Skype and Facebook don’t replace a real hug in times of joy, shared tears in times of sadness, and the real feeling of holding a newborn niece or nephew.

I want you to know, dear one who has taken the time to read this, that I’m sorry we’re not there. We don’t like missing all those important times, and the joy we get from answering the call to serve overseas doesn’t take away the pain we feel each time we look at the clock and know that at that hour you are gathering together on the other side of the world and we’re not there. The joy we get from going doesn’t take away the pain of going. It’s a sacrifice for you – thank you for letting us go and not making it harder than it is – and it’s a sacrifice for us.

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We have a few weeks left in America, and we’ll be saying a lot of goodbyes during that time. If you notice us holding back tears, feel free to give an extra long hug. And make sure to hug our kids extra too…they have had to say goodbye so much that sometimes it doesn’t seem like it’s a big deal to them. But know that they will miss you and that it affects them too, all this transience.

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This isn’t going to be a blog about just the amazing things that are happening in our ministry or only our happy and good news. It might not be news at all, but just ponderings from my heart. Maybe I’ll share some Japanese recipes and pictures of bento lunches. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share a lot of pictures! But know that if you read this blog expecting only praise reports, you might be disappointed. I plan to share our struggles and hardships, along with our victories and happy moments, which we love to give praise to the Father for! But in our honest, real life, sometimes the former outweighs the latter. I hope you’ll walk with us through both, and feel closer to us through this blog, even though it is from the other side of the world.

Love,

Hannah

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