Sunday, February 03, 2008

The First Goodbye

My friend Pam leaves Arusha on the Tuesday night KLM flight.

I'm not happy about this.

Don't get me wrong--I'm happy for Pam. I'm happy for the things (though yet unseen) that are opening up ahead of her. I'm happy about a certain boy who would like to have her nearer. I'm happy that there is a conviction that this is right. But I'm not happy that Pam is leaving.

I think of all the teaching I have done on cross-cultural adjustment, international living, staying healthy as a family through global re-settling, getting beyond the just surviving to the actual thriving. I think about all those words I have spoken, read, written or taught on it all and I remember that one of the most important words is "Goodbye."

I think of Gwen, the sweet-faced hostess with the mostess who lived many years in a remote little corner of Maasai, on the bend of a river where the big fig trees grow. Gwen said that when she left her homeland she thought she had said all her goodbyes. What surprised my friend the most was the constant cycle of goodbyes that came her way once she had begun this international life. Ruth Van Reken, gifted author and speaker on these topics, calls it the continuing cycle of separation and loss.

I have a lot more I could say on this but there will be people arriving to my (messy) house in 90 mins for a quiet little send-off for Pam. We want to spend the evening worshiping God together and then praying our friend on her way.

Let me just say this: Pam's departure is my first goodbye from Arusha (besides our boys leaving for college) and I know it will not be the last. Pam welcomed us to the this town with kind words and dinner invitations and times of laughing together. I am thankful for these short 8 months of having her as a neighbor across town. I am thankful that she has been in our lives. I am thankful that somewhere along the way, this international life has taught us to open our hearts quickly to each other. I am just plain thankful for Pam.

Go well, Pam.
Be blessed.
We will miss you.


Trevor Borden said...

so why does this post make me cry?

lisa said...

Probably because Pam is precious to us.

And because you recognize the feeling of separation and loss.

Pam said...

And it made me cry too. Thanks for a wonderful night of sitting at the feet of Jesus. I could not have thought of a better way to say goodbye than singing praises to our King with you guys. Thank you for being the Bordens. Thanks for many tea times, and for the love. Thanks for the Love.

Sue said...

first of all, I can't believe it has truly been that long since you have been here!
My heart is happy there was this lovely Pam to be near you these last 8 months...and sorry for the once again loss you must go through.
Live on, Lisa, my friend, teach on, write on, have Jesus truths we love to be drawn toward.

djcconsulting said...

I haven't even met Pam and I'm getting teary! But I have read her blog and have prayed many times for her.Bless you Pam!!
Lisa, even though there are many goodbyes, you have the gift of keeping your heart-connections up really well.
Much love, Dore'

lisa said...

Pam, what a nice night that was! So glad it worked to do it :-)

Sue and Dore', thanks for your kind words.

Carolyn said...

Dore, I totally agree with you. There is sooooo much I could say about this; having experienced it also in my life, I know how hard it is to keep an open heart....but, I think of the Michael W. Smith song, Friends....."we'll keep you close as always, it won't even seem you've gone; 'cause our hearts in big and small ways, will keep the love that keeps us strong". "And a friend will not say 'never' 'cause the welcome will not end; though it's hard to let you go, in the Father's hands we know, that a lifetime's not too long, to live as friends". Another little secret: Lisa also has the gift of hospitality! :-)