Updated: Oct 4, 2018
After months of planning, preparing, and praying, today my family and I sit in LAX airport awaiting our flight to Fiji. It’s difficult to describe the emotions — the whole day feels so surreal. The question that I’ve been asked numerous times continually echoes in my head, “Are you ready?” I think so!! I’ve crossed all my “t’s” and dotted all my “i’s,” but still my head spins with hundreds of thoughts, and my heart hurts with the pains of saying goodbye. My wife calls this being “sad-cited.” Sad and excited, both at the same time!
One thing I’ve never been able to master is the art of saying goodbye. I dread the goodbyes. No matter how prepared or strong I try to be, there’s just something difficult about those final moments and words with loved ones. My heart aches as I express my love for them and give those final hugs.
Love is such a powerful emotion and separation reminds me of its strength. But I’m thankful my Heavenly Father allows me feel — to feel the pain of love. I could try to run from it or just remain numb, but that would rob me of important lessons and reminders. Here are a two things God has gently reminded me of as I ponder this powerful emotion.
God is love. What a thought! He is not just a loving God, He is the Source of love, and He displayed perfect love by sending His Son to die upon a cross so that I may be saved from eternal judgment. The Bible declares this truth, but I understand and appreciate His love a little more today. Just as the love of others transcends time zones and zip codes, God’s love is never-ending, never-failing, always and forever. What a privilege it is to proclaim this great love to the people of the South Pacific.
Relationships are important. Investing yourself into people and allowing them to do the same sharpens you, provokes you to good works, teaches you valuable lessons and fulfills a deep need within to feel love! Life without relationships would be miserable. Yes, separation from those we love is painful, but it is evidence that there truly is a meaningful relationship. I think of Paul as he wept with the believers from Ephesus at the time of his departure — what a beautiful picture of the deep connection and love they had for one another. I’m so thankful that my tears were shed, not for lack of relationships, but in response to my relationships.
In about twelve hours, my family and I will land in another country, not for a two-week mission’s trip, but in a place we will call home. As I reminisce over the events that have lead us to this moment, I marvel at the way God operates, provides, and comforts. Yes, saying goodbye hurts, but saying “yes” to God’s perfect plan brings overwhelming joy.