Saturday, August 29, 2015

Take Another Step

Writer's Block. Since April on this blog. Hmm....
I've got ideas...but they won't come to words. Or the words that I have started to write are on another computer at a different house where we used to be staying. Hmm...perhaps it just ain't gonna happen (good English, I know.)
Probably because watching the Blue Jays game on TV is a lot easier than writing something...hmm...that may be contributing.

Well, here's what we are going to do. We are going to walk through and see what has happened since April. Then maybe some words will come. Let's see...

1. Sweet girl named Carol, age 5 died. I attended her burial and memorial service...and cried a lot of tears.
2. I said good bye to one of my best friends in the whole world, there was peace, but it also came with lots of tears. As I said good bye, I thought of my own that were coming and I wanted to stop the time.
3. Our last two months were filled with visitors and trips and fellowship between the people who have become family to me. Very, very precious and special times.
4. Then, I said good bye to all of them. All those people who have become family-brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, jajjas...little ones who won't remember me the next time I see them. Special people who may not be there when I go back.
5. I moved to the other side of the world and had to re-adjust to my home culture
Obviously, much more than that has happened, but those are the top five things that I remember from the past four months. All of these things have changed my life in really big ways. And sometimes, it is very easy to feel lost. After all, most of my friends are on the other side of the world right now. One very precious girl is in heaven. I'm in a country that I haven't lived in for three years. I need to learn things all over again. Like how to use a microwave or a washing machine. And sometimes, it is easy to give up and despair. To wonder why I am so far away from my friends and my "home."
But earlier this week, by chance, as I was listening to some music this chorus began to play, while I was doing something else but it struck me hard.
"Take another step, take another step
When the road ahead is dark
And you don’t know where to go
Take another step, take another step
Trust God and take another step
And another step and another step
Take another step and another step and another step"
These words. Three simple words: Take another step. Trust God. Take another step.
Even when you have said good bye to your best friends.
Take another step.
Even when you have left your home.

Take another step.
Even when you have no plans for the future.
Take another step.
Even when everything is lost.

Take another step.
Even when you can't go on.

Take another step.
In other words, trust.
Trust in the God who has led us this far...
And trust in the God who will continue to lead us on...
The road is dark. I don't know where I'm going or where my family is going. We are in transition right now along with many other people I know. We can't see past the darkness that shadows the road, where we are supposed to go or do, but I am reminded. Trust God. Take another step, and one step at a time, He will lead us to where He wants us.
He know where we are going. He knows every step we will take, whether it is through the valley or to the top of the mountain. If that step will be on our feet or on our knees. He knows.
Don't give up.
Take another step.
You who fear him, trust in the Lord
    he is their help and shield.
~Psalm 115:11

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Laughter Lines

I'll see you in the future when we're older
And we are full of stories to be told
Cross my heart and hope to die
I'll see you with your laughter lines.

It's become a season of goodbyes for me. 

Of hard goodbyes. Of bittersweet goodbyes. Of 'see you soon's and 'we'll catch up later's; but also of 'goodbye, I may never see you again on this earth'. 

It all started when I left Uganda for the States two months ago. I'm not gone that long- only for two more weeks. But when I left, I left behind two amazing friends who were also saying goodbyes. For them, though, it was permanent. I'll see them again, no doubt. But never in the same place. Never doing the same things. Those are all memories now. 

And I ask myself, how could time have gone so quickly?

Now, I've just finished my summer job, working as a camp counselor. Oh the times I had- the memories created, the friendships made. I had so much fun. I grew so much, learned so much. And some of the friends I've made, I would have liked to keep near me for much longer. To get to know them better, to hear their stories and be a part of their lives. 

But it's over now. Those times are gone. People move on, including me, and again I ask…

how could time have gone so quickly?

It's goodbye to those amazing people who have had even such a small impact on my life. Goodbye to the opportunities to laugh with them, to cry with them. To just be with them. 

I was reading a blog just a few minutes ago, called How to say goodbye by Hannah Brencher. She says this:

"Goodbye is the starting point you don’t see because the finish line is so piled high with tears and last words and fears that this– this thing you have right here– will never be the same.
And yes, it feels like something in the room is dead or dying or about to die. And the scary thing about that? That’s already true too.
Something is dying. We can’t even ignore it. It sounds so morbid but goodbye is really just admitting that something is dying. You two came together– for a month or for a year or for five of those years– and you built something. You breathed your whole little life into that thing. Your secrets. Your fears. Your laughter. All into that thing. That friendship thing, that “I’ve never really met someone like you” sort of thing. And then, out of nowhere, it feels like something comes along and lobs the whole thing into pieces. That’s what a goodbye will do." 
These seasons have died. A season of friendships in Uganda, and a season of learning and growing and friendships here in the States. Nothing will be the same from here on out. Goodbyes will do that. 

I'm trying to find the balance between grieving these goodbyes, and not letting the memories become painful. God gave us a memory for a reason, which means that He didn't want fun times to turn into things that hurt when we recall them. I want to be able to enjoy the memories that I have; but I don't want to live in them and wish that I could relive them. Because that's not what He calls us to do. We are in the present for a reason. 

We have those memories for a reason.

So I will enjoy the memories: New Year's Eve surprises, movie making, songs sung, great conversations, laughter galore… water polo, mud fights, DC tours, turtles rebuking their subordinates, and more laughter… Memories that have shaped who I am and have given me a glimpse of who Jesus is. 

Even though the summer's over now, and the past five years in Uganda are over, at least the memories will stay. And that's important. 

And what's exciting, is that I will see these people again. Maybe not on here on earth. But I will laugh with them again. I will be able to enjoy them, to hug them again. 

I'll see them again, with their laughter lines.