Composition Posted: 700 words
(I digress before beginning: I’m not talking about the namby-pamby boy-girlfriend sort of “love” that the world tries to pass off to us. If I know anything about love, it’s this: the world’s love is so pathetically unable to match even an iota of what true love really is. What the world has is not love.)
For the past seven days, I’ve been at a retreat with all the international workers from our Russia field. We’re a large bunch: 74, to be exact. There are seventeen of us teens. When I came to the retreat, I’d met about five of the seventeen (excluding myself and my brother). Now I count them all as family.
We’ve done all the usual retreat stuff: games, adventures, life-threatening adventures, and just plain old hanging out. We’ve also been praying together, worshipping together, and studying the Bible together. But still…it’s just been a week. As far as I know, I’ll never see some of them on this Earth again – so why do I care so much when I have to say goodbye?
TCKs (third-culture-kids, or in my case, fifth-culture-kid) have a lot in common with each other. In a world where we don’t fit in anywhere, we do fit in when we’re with each other. We understand all the routine of moving around and what baggage (often literally) that brings with it. A lot can go unspoken between us, because we’re all in the same boat.
I love them. I love them all. Lauren, David, Rachel, Phil, and others – y’all are in my heart permanently now. Family. And it’s the sort of love that makes your heart ache and keeps you up the night before just thinking about stuff in your head. It’s the sort of love that makes you write stupid blog posts the day after. It’s the sort of love that makes saying goodbye so painful.
I get so sick of goodbyes. Sometimes I just hate moving around all the time. I feel like my life is made up of nothing but saying “goodbye” to the people I care about.
But…that’s a good thing.
Well, not exactly, but it reminds me of a very good thing. Saying goodbye is so wonderully temporary. So often we lose perspective and assume that goodbyes are “forever.” This world is not everything. What is our life? James likens it to a mist that passes in an instant. And what is an instant compared to eternity in heaven? There we will have the family reunion to end all family reunions. There, everyone will be united under the banner of Jesus Christ and we will be together, with each other and with Him, for eternity! Isn’t it glorious!!
One thing that God has shown me at this retreat is that I don’t really belong anywhere here on earth. None of us do. I thank God for making me a TCK because through my experiences He’s continually redirecting my forgetful heart heavenwards. I’ve lived on four continents and am learning my fourth language. There’s literally no place I could call home here on earth. But that only makes God’s reminders of heaven all the sweeter.
We don’t think on heaven enough, I don’t think. I get shivers just thinking about it. To be with God: forever! To be with everyone you’ve ever said goodbye to: forever! To have unfallen bodies: forever! Oh, to belong! Words can’t even express it! Far from being boring, I can’t wait to get there!
And it’s that makes the goodbyes bearable. Definitely, they are still painful, and despite knowing all this, I still hate them. Sometimes I wish I could just hug and never let go (I’ve come to love hugs: they’re the best way to say a goodbye, I think). And I so look forward to the day when goodbyes won’t be necessary, and when we’ll all be in heaven seated before the throne of the Lamb!
Anyways, there’s the rambles for today. I’m at a hotel, by the beach, with hours of free time for the next week. I’m hoping to get some good devos in so more rambly thoughts are likely forthcoming. Also, there’s a poem percolating