Finding joy in farewells

I have done it dozens of times.

And it NEVER gets easier.

Today, I, yet again, said goodbye to my family. And I say that with a burdened heart and tears dripping down my face as I fly to Singapore.

I did not really know when the sadness would hit. Sometimes it hits when I wait for the first flight. Sometimes it doesn’t hit until after the jet lag.

But when it hits, it’s painful.

As I fly over the clouds, closer in physical proximity to our Maker, I am begging Him to soothe this pain. And wonder why I have to bear it. Wondering why it is that the people I love have to live so far away from me. Wondering when, oh when, I will see them again. To hold their hands. To laugh with them. To watch the stars with them.

That bitter feeling of leaving hits me with such harshness.

But, that is life. For my family. Many of us are scattered throughout the world. The gaping reality is that time surges on. And the possibility of not seeing them for a long time haunts me; especially my 90 year old grandmother.

But the Lord continues to whisper into my soul with such sweet grace. He reminds me of the joy.

The joy of the embraces. The joy of the laughter. The joy of the hugs and kisses. The joy of the stories. The joy of connection. The joy of having grandparents that love the Lord so much that reunions are inevitable, in this world or the next.

The joy of having grandparents, who were at certain points in our lives, our parents. So instead of having first cousins who are just cousins, our love for each other is comparable to siblings. Because we lived as brothers and sisters under one roof. And that type of love…it never changes.

Regardless of time. Regardless of location. Regardless of communication.

And that’s the kind of love that I see from Christ.

And I’m beyond grateful. That He would give me such mercy and grace that he would allow me to feel that love from people in this world. There are no words that can express the love I see in my family. But I suppose that’s what distance does to you. It makes you cling to moments and breathe life in.

Whether it’s the outright expression of the words, or the subtle expression of singing songs on a karaoke machine, the love between the Baylon family is indescribably beautiful.

And it continues on into the next generation. Believe it or not, my 5 year old niece is the one who watched stars with me. And my 9 year old cousin, the youngest cousin in our clan, came home from school and came over to the house and spent the night with me every, single, night. Though he had school the next day, he would not go to bed until I would.

As usual, we shared our hopes and dreams. And it never changes. It’s usually to be together.

And that’s the sweet hope I have for all of us. Not just in this world, but heaven. That my family knows Christ so intimately in this quick and fast paced world that they spend eternity with Him. That we spend eternity with Him.

Until then, when opportunities come to reconnect and bond with my family, I will flee to them with open arms. And take in every single second with such sweet joy.

We never know when it will be our last.

Deuteronomy 11:18-31
Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the heavens are above the earth, your days and those of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your fathers.

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Not even 1/5 of my family. Seriously.

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