I am 100% certain that I have more tears in my body than the average human being. I am an above-average cry baby and still trying to figure out whether it is a good or a bad thing.
When God tells your to go somewhere, no-one tells you how often you will have your heart broken by having to say goodbye to people. When I worked on ships in 2008 I had a taster of this but it was nowhere near as heart-wrenching as building Kingdom alongside people and then having to wave them off as a colourfully branded Toyota Avanza drives them out of sight.
We have a policy that short term volunteers aren’t allowed to spend alone-time with our kids, give them hugs or let them sit on their laps. This is mainly due to the fact that children get attached to them and it is very tough when they then have to leave. Someone should write up a policy protecting me against this too. “No short term volunteer allowed within five meters of Elana Hugo unless you are planning on coming back to the village in the near future.” In this case “short term” refers to anything under a year…
Since I arrived at LIV, I have had to wave off quite a few people who I have grown to love so much in such a short while. Last Tuesday placed the cherry on the cake for me when my car started making the most ridiculous noises on my way to work. When I got pulled over by the only guy on this village that makes me think of my dad (meaning I trust him with all my heart) and got told that I must get it checked out I already felt a wave of salt water building up inside of me because broken things just have that effect on me. Mostly because they need to get fixed and that entails a lot of admin.
An hour or so later I found myself literally bawling my eyes out, having to say goodbye to the coolest two people I’ve met in a very long time. (In all fairness, they’re probably only cool because they absolutely adore Jesus and He shines through them and I really need more of Him in this season of my life). So there I stood, uncontrollably “ugly-crying” and being a complete drama queen, when the Lord reminds me of all the amazing “hello’s” I get to say here too!
I’ve been here for almost three months and I’ve had more friends visit from home than many of the staff who has been here for much longer. I get to say “hello” to every single community member coming to church on Sundays. I get to hug new comers and make them feel welcome. I get to say “Sawubona!” to every kid on the village…being responded to with a “Ma’am! What your nêm?” (Every. Single. Time.) “Ah, little person, Ma’am’s nêm is still the same as yesterday. And the day before. And like Jesus, it will always be the same!”
We often forget that there can be so much sweet amidst the bitter. The taste which you focus on, will always become the overpowering one. Mind over matter!
I don’t believe that some people are only meant to be in our lives for certain seasons. I believe that seeds get sown and sprout when the time is right but that each relationship causes for a very unique addition to the garden you’re walking in. Sometimes you sit and wait on a bench. Sometimes you run (well, other people run. I mostly sit.) But the flowers and plants stay the same.
I love every single “goodbye” I get to say because my garden is growing beautifully. Flourishing, I tell you. (This is a ridiculous metaphor, people. I can’t keep any plants alive…ask my housemate. We have two very dead lavenders on our porch and those plants were still very alive last week…)
Anyway. To all the friends who have ever caused me to “ugly cry” (you know who you are) – I salute you. Come back soon! I’ll make sure to water you from time to time…
There is a time for everything
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die
(a time to say “hello, dear friend” and a time to wave “goodbye…”)