There are a few things in life that get easier the more often you do them.
Look at exercising, the first few times, it feels like it may literally kill you, but by the second month it’s no big deal and you usually start to look forward to doing it.
Some things just shake out that way. But leaving people for long periods of time never gets easier for me, especially when those people are my parents.
Everyone around me knows that my parents and I are very close. If you know me, then you’ve met my parents. They are very involved in my life, and when they are in the country, we all eat dinner together as a family at least once or twice every week. We love family. We love spending time together. We love eating, so you can see why we make sure that this is a priority in our lives.
When scheduling our weeks, we usually leave Monday nights open to nothing other than sitting around the house with our family while chatting about all of the problems of the world. I can’t tell you how many national and world issues we have solved, only to move on to the next topic of discussion.
We make life-long memories for ourselves and for our children every week by doing this.
I say all of this to lead up to the sad, yet exciting news, that my parents have once again taken their flight to India to help reach that nation with the gospel of Christ. That’s right, they are missionaries who fly half way around the world to share their beliefs with others.
Once my Dad retired from his full-time job with Jefferson County, he had nothing better to do I suppose ... now that’s a joke. He was still a full-time pastor at a local church and an avid fisherman, he stayed just as busy retired as he did before.
My Mom still worked her full time job, so you can imagine our complete and utter disbelief to hear that our aging (sorry Mom and Dad) parents were wanting to start a new endeavor which involved flying half way around the world, living there for a portion of the year and starting a Bible college in said foreign country. Actually, you don’t have to imagine what it was like, I can tell you. I was pregnant when they first broke the news and cried as if someone had just ripped my child out of my own body. I sobbed as if they had both dropped dead right there in front of me.
It was about this time of year when they made the initial announcement and beyond being stunned, I was crushed.
It didn’t help that I wasn’t the only one in the family who felt that way. My sister and I would talk about it through the different stages of acceptance, and we would both try to talk the other off the edge.
The night they told us of their plans, I was fighting back tears when my brother leaned over and said, “Don’t cry! Cry in the shower when no one is around, but don’t you dare cry tonight.” I was overly emotional, fat as a house and trying my best to hold back tears... not a pretty sight.
As I said earlier, we are a close-knit family, so it was like ripping the tree trunk from the family tree and expecting the limbs to be able to fin for themselves. It didn’t seem like it would be possible.
That was eight years ago. We’ve come a long way since then. It took a few years, but my brother, sister and I have finally started accepting that our parents will probably return from India. Not only that, but through the technology of Facebook, texts and emails, we are able to communicate much better with them.
This year we have even figured out that their phones will allow us to Facetime. We’ve only done it once so far, but it was so great to see what their living conditions were like and for the locals to see how we live. My Dad got to see his beloved dog running around our house, playing with his grandkids. I’m pretty sure that’s been the best phone call he’s ever made from India. It combined a few of his favorite things.
All in all, some of the pain is lessened as the years go on, but it’s still not easy to watch them prepare to leave for long periods of time. Knowing the purpose behind their trips makes it much easier, but it surely doesn’t take away the pain. I still cry when I see them the last time before they leave. I still find myself sobbing to God as I drive away, but He always comforts me and He knows the plans He has for us. God is giving our family hope and a future, and I can honestly say that we are happy to be a part of something eternal in the making.