I was unprepared for this. Nobody told us we’d have to say goodbye to friends over and over again. Some farewells are for forever (as far into the future as we can see, at least), while others are for months at a time. Neither of these are easy.
After I left my friends in Dufur, I didn’t think I’d have to leave anyone else. And then after leaving my friends I made in Independence, I thought I’d not have anymore goodbyes to say until I left America again. I was wrong.
I haven’t had to deal with the death of any of my friends yet, but part of my life dies when each leaves. When a Ugandan (or, in this case Sudanese) girlfriend moves, it not only changes how you live, but how you pray. You never know if they’ll be treated well or if you’ll ever get news on their life again.
When a fellow missionary kid leaves, you watch part of your heart walk off and some of your most intimate secrets and memorable experiences fly over the ocean. These I have more of a chance of seeing again, but only the Lord knows when or how—or even if. Memories are still as much a part of your mind as when the Ugandan shifts, but your lives are connected easier and more completely with the fellow American—or, more precisely, third culture kid.
When you leave it’s a different matter. Not only do you know the life you left will change, but you know you will change. Not only do you know you will miss many experiences at home, but you don’t know what experiences await you. I am leaving not know for sure that I’m going to come back to the same people. Not only will my life change again, but my friends’ lives will change, too. Not only will I be different, but when I return my life will be different again.
I wasn’t prepared for this—and I wasn’t ready for so much change. I don’t think anyone could be.