When “See You Later” is Really Good-Bye

I felt like writing today, but I didn’t know what to write.  So I googled blog prompts and found a book full of prompts for every day of the year.  I flipped to August 11th, and I got, “Is political correctness a useful concept, or does it stifle hon- est discussion?” I thought, “That’s stupid.  I don’t want to write about that…”  And that is exactly what I think about political correctness–it is stupid!  The real problem isn’t PC, it is a spirit of offense.  We have to be PC because “we may offend someone.” So, until that is dealt with, the argument is invalid.  No one will ever actually listen to what you are saying without taking offense if you do not stay PC.  So there is that.  Now to something I actually thought was a good prompt. Since I did not have this book of prompts yesterday, I will write about yesterdays–being moved to tears by something beautiful.

The truth is, I tried to blog about this twice already.  So, here goes the explanation for my tears.

We had hosted two foreign boys for three weeks.  It was a busy, exciting time to connect with the very ethnicity that I feel called to work with.  It was an opportunity to learn about their culture, welcome them into the family, and to love them unconditionally.  There were days that I felt exhausted as I made them breakfast every morning.  They didn’t seem to ever like cereal.  Toast, eggs, and bacon was all they wanted, even if it wasn’t an option.  But I grew to love them so dearly.  All of them.

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We only hosted two boys, but I also went with them to school every day and helped in the classroom.  I got to know each of them in our boys class by name.  I had intimate conversations with them about faith and their beliefs.  I got to know their love, generosity, kindness, and talent.  I wanted to tell these beautiful women and kind gentlemen so much more than I had time to do.

And now, to the day of tears. It was the day before they all left, and what a whirlwind of emotions was that day.  I worked my tail off all day to help the farewell party go smoothly and beautifully.  When it finally came time to have the party, I sat and cried.  I didn’t cry because I was tired.  I didn’t cry because all my hard work had finally achieved its purpose.  I cried because I loved each one of these kids so much.  I cried because I had so thoroughly enjoyed meeting and getting to know them all.  I cried because they cried.  I cried because I will cherish these kids and my memories with them. My heart was overflowing.

You see, per tradition for the Northern International Student Exchange (NISE) farewell party, the students read thank you letters to their host family that they had written in school. Though these letters were not written to me, I was overcome with emotion as each one got up and poured love on their family.  They bared their hearts to the room and showed the deep love and impact that these families had on them.  For many of these students, this was the first time they felt love and a part of a family.  I didn’t want any of them to leave.

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The next day, as we dropped of the boys and started to say good-bye, it was even harder. When “See you later” is just wishful thinking, it really feels like a bitter good-bye.  I hope to see every one of the students again, but I don’t know if that will happen.  I don’t know what will happen to them, how they will grow up, or if they will always be in their hometown.  I don’t know if they will continue to use their English.  I don’t know if I will ever see them again.  So, it was like bitter coffee without the sweetness of an ensured visit’s creamer.  I hate good byes.  The river of tears flowed.

I miss them all, and I pray that the seeds sown will be watered by the Holy Spirit.  They are loved, beautiful, and God’s masterpiece.  They have a hope and a future.  I pray that God puts many more loving people in their path to tell them these things over… and over… and over again.

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