I hate departures.
I am sitting here, waiting for our trip. The port people are saying that one hour daw ang delay. I don’t mind. I need the extra hour, anyway.
The past six days were magical, life-giving, brand new. It was a week of community, sunrises, and nonstop singing. The kids, the youth, the ates and kuyas and Pastor Dante and Ate Dolor and Team Tacloban – they all have chunks of my heart. I did not come here to be this vulnerable, but here I am, feeling like I am being ripped from family.
This morning the kids graduated. We gave awards, snacks. We danced around a bit crazier than usual. We took one million pictures. Anything to freeze time, I guess.
We ate lunch together. We packed our bags. We went to San Juanico. They dropped us at the van terminal. We left.
I do not have words for departures, because I hate them. The van ride felt like an eternity and three lifetimes have passed. The mountains were beautiful, the sunset was golden, but my heart was dripping in ugly puddles all around Leyte. I fell in love with this place, with God’s work here, with the people; it’s nice to be this soft again and to actually feel things.
I fell in love with Jesus more, here, because He is everywhere and the stars call out to us, telling us that their Maker is in love with us, too. I fought back tears here, when I heard my girls tell me about losing entire families and the destruction of lives, but then finding Jesus, and I learned from them that nothing ever comes close to a Savior who knows what it’s like to lose. To suffer.
Here I remembered more vividly. My own sins. The ugliness of my heart, my own trainwreck of a life – then I remember Him vividly. The blameless life. The thorn-crown, His nail-pierced hands. His grave. His empty grave. His promise that He will be with us always.
We lived a few meters away from the Pacific Ocean. I stared at it everyday, for the past six days. The waves are bigger and they sometimes slam against the seawall and the color is a deep, rich blue. I think about God’s love for me and know that the ocean is but a drop of His love.
Kaibigan, I wish you were with me. I wish you witnessed everything with your own eyes, walked the roads with your own feet, hugged the people in your own arms. But since wala kayo, I hope I showed you even a shadow of this journey. I hope I showed you even a shadow of my Savior.
Hanggang sa next missions diaries,