Our good friends R & K returned from India this August. K came busting through the trees to meet us at the park for Gavin's fourth birthday. It was like no time had passed. Her contagious smile, excitement to be around people, doing her little dance of joy and handing out hugs. R and the kids were close behind. The kids seemed a foot taller and R seemed, well the same, smirking at how excitable K and I were and commenting on how cute I was as a pregnant person, just because he knew I'd want to hit him for it. It was great to see them both and like no time had passed.
But it had passed. It had been two years since they had moved across the world to spread the gospel to people in India who did not know the love of Jesus. Two incredibly long and short years. Years in which they had traveled to places I've only heard of and seen things I can't comprehend. Years where jobs had changed and our family had caved to the American dream of the minivan. Years in which kids had grown taller and changed drastically.
But then they were here. We got to go out to dinner, play games, eat brownies, have a girls night, eat brownies, talk on the phone, and eat brownies. For three months, I was easily able to reach them by phone. We chatted after church on Sunday and we hung out together. My kids grew to know and love them (who wouldn't...K is amazing with little kids and well, R taught my son of the art of dart gun wars and is now his personal hero, much to my chagrin). My husband and I had a sense of contentment knowing they were living just down the road. Even though they were busy meeting up with friends, visiting family and sharing about their mission, there was a huge comfort in knowing they were just 5 miles away.
Friday night we had our last dinner with them and yesterday at church we hugged good-bye. My throat started to hurt, my eyes welled up and the ache of missing them began to set in. I'll be honest, I know for both of us life goes on. It's busy here with three little ones and from the sounds of it, Indian life is very busy with people and activity. But when I need someone to ask parenting advice from, when I have a question about the Bible, when I am need someone to hold me accountable, when I want to vent or to share a story of something lame I did that is too funny not to share, but too embarrassing to tell most people, when I need prayer, when I need brownies and laughter...I miss them terribly. I love these people.
It usually happens at night, at the end of a long day...Shawn or I will turn to the other and say, "I miss R & K." The other will say, "Me too." And we'll just lay there for awhile talking about how much they have brought to our lives and trying to convince ourselves that India needs them more than we do. I think my head knows that's true, but I am still trying to convince my heart.
It was so fun to have them here. SO great for my kids to KNOW the people in the picture we pray for. To ask for their kids to come play and to talk about them with the excitement we have. It was, as K would say, "a sweet season".
And so I am trying to be thankful for the time and not consider the loss that comes this Friday when they board the plane. Afterall, I am not the one headed back to India. I am not leaving all my family and friends. I am not entering a culture and world so far removed from this one and so challenging. I am trying to remember this and pray for R & K, as their transition is a thousand times harder than any of their friends back home. But still...I will miss them. I am so proud to call them friends and proud of the calling they have and they're fortitude to follow Jesus, no matter where He asks them to go.
They will be back in a year and a half. Yes a great deal will change, but I have a feeling the key things probably won't change at all and that comforts me. Plus, I still have my calling card and can always remind myself, a year and a half really isn't that long...especially in the scheme of eternity, right?