It’s time to head back to Papua New Guinea after almost a year in the US. This is the time when I tend to shut down and just want these two weeks of goodbyes to be done. Unfortunately this means my wife does most of the work of packing up our belongings. It’s not that I don’t want to help. I just feel overwhelmed and emotionally drained.
We have made new friends and deepened past friendships while ignoring the nagging knowledge of an inevitable suspension of relationships. We have been so enriched by the friends we have which makes it so hard to depart leaving us with opposite emotions tugging on our hearts; the anticipation of what God will do in PNG vs the sorrow of leaving, the excitement of seeing old friends vs the heart breaking goodbyes, the tentativeness of the unknown vs the security of what we have, and the breakup of our family as our son attends a boarding school vs the knowledge of better opportunities for him.
Our friends posted a link to this article about missionary kids saying goodbye. I think it does a good job of explaining some of the difficulties in saying so many goodbyes.
Despite the pain of goodbyes, I’m also thankful. Thank you to those who listened to me pour out my heart, to those who encouraged me when I was down, to those who wanted to be a friend, to those who challenged me, and the many others who have touched our lives this past year.