This has been a good Christmas, but tough emotionally. Just can't get past the idea that it may be years before I celebrate this special holiday with my kids again.
In the last few meetings we've had, Ivan has shared about the Hephzibah House in New York City. It started out as a training place for women who wanted to be in ministry. Part of that training involved hosting missionaries who had said all their goodbyes, gotten rid of everything except the few things they had packed in steamer trunks, and were just waiting for their ship to come in so they could leave for the mission field.
Ivan's been sharing that this is where we need to be, mentally. We need to finish getting rid of all our stuff, pack the few things we're taking with us, and begin the process of letting go of 'home' and all that goes with it...saying goodbye.
It's a lot tougher than I thought it would be. Not normally one to cry easily I find myself dissolving into tears at the mere thought of leaving my kids. And I use the term 'kids' loosely. They are 21 and 26 years old, and the oldest is married!
What I should focus on is how thankful I am that we're a close family. And unlike those early missionaries who left, never to return, we will have regularly scheduled home ministry times every two to three years. Plus we've got awesome technology that will allow us to keep in touch via e-mail, via phone services like Vonage or Skype, and I think we'll even be set up to do video stuff.
And while we won't be physically with the kids in the years to come, we can still share these special times via modern technologies. And I'm also sure we won't be alone; we just don't know yet who will be a part of our circle of friends who might celebrate with us next year.
I have been thinking about the gift thing and it shouldn't be too difficult. Online shopping will allow me to find exactly what I want, and I can have it shipped to the appropriate recipient. Or I may do some shopping before we leave and have the opposite sibling hold onto the gift until it's time to present it. When it comes to gift giving, I will find a way. Mere thousands of miles won't stand in my way! And I can always imagine the looks on their faces as they open their gifts :-) Thinking about that has me smiling again, the tears retreating for the time being.
And a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS to all!