On June 18, my daughter Joy and her family will be leaving for their mission assignment in Indonesia. They’ve been staying with us these last few weeks while waiting for their visas to arrive.
Though my heart aches, knowing we won’t see them again for four years, I can still discern blessings in our situation. The short time has prompted us to create special memories to store away for the long days of separation. For instance, my 9-year old grandson, Caleb, and his 5-year old sister, Reagan, asked to come with me to the Senior Center on three different mornings. They enjoyed seeing where I work and interacting with participants here. Reagan even joined in the line dancing with our Silver Steppers. The extra time I got to spend with them meant a lot to me, especially considering that Caleb will be a teenager the next time I see him.
My grief at losing the kids is tempered by an understanding of the adventure that awaits them. Their lives will be enriched by new relationships and experiences that will open the world to them. Their horizons will expand in ways they can’t begin to imagine. Having experienced it myself helps to clarify my perspective. I am as happy and excited for them as I am sorry for the necessary separation.
If we look hard enough, we can find reasons to be thankful even in the bleakest situations. Here at the Senior Center, our perpetually precarious financial condition is one of the greatest stressors in my life. I feel as if I spend the bulk of my time scrambling to raise operating funds. And yet the relationships I’ve found here, the fun we have and the service we’re able to provide all fill me with a sense of joy and satisfaction.