A Missionary’s Lament

by mendibpng

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This is a bit of a different post. I began writing this as a gift to some close friends who are leaving next year, before I return from furlough. Our missionary career has been rich with friends, and for that I am grateful, but it makes the leaving and goodbyes all the more difficult. No one in our family is exempt from this kind of grief. But it’s part of the whole package of missionary life. And so, I dedicate this poem to you, my friends.

When you leave, I’ll grieve a death,
Saying goodbye to possibilities
Of seeing you whenever I like.
I carry conversations
And confidences shared in secret,
When you and I walked
Through difficult times together.

The things we laughed about
No one else would understand.
My inner pockets are full of small treasures,
Each representing some sorrow or joy.
Now they are all just memories
With varied surface and tone.

The places we met will now be
Sacred monuments to me.
I’ll search them for pieces of you
Whenever I walk by.
I know that our relationship will change,
But you are forged in me deep.
I haven’t left yet.
Neither have you.
But the grieving has already begun.

You face the great river of great unknowns
And though you haven’t crossed over it yet,
The grieving has lately begun.
Your family will be uprooted.
You will leave your home of memories
Where your children grew and played
And learned so many new things.
Yet you bravely chose to follow the Spirit,
Who’s leading you to the next place.

I grieve that I won’t be there
To walk through the next journey with you.
All I can offer is my loyalty
Despite the long distance
And the hope that we’ll meet once again.
So before we both leave here,
We’ll have more cups of coffee
And we’ll create more small treasures
To put in our pockets
To remember each other by.

-by mendib & bzephyr

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9 Comments to “A Missionary’s Lament”

  1. to mendib and bzephyr how very beautiful and poignant. blessings on you all. Date: Mon, 5 May 2014 10:18:35 +0000 To: riverrunner7@msn.com

  2. Mandy, I love your phrase “inner pockets” . That is wonderfully descriptive of the way we carry joy and sorrow on the heart. May The God of all comfort comfort you in this, another separation. Lovingly, Mom and Dad.

  3. ahh Mandy, sniff sniff – the grieving began last year, and hasn’t stopped yet! 😦

    • yes, Lizzie! I know it will hit me big time when I arrive in Uka and walk past your house…only to realize that you aren’t there. Will miss you greatly, my friend!!

  4. This fresh reading of your beautiful poem brought tears to my eyes, as I realize that your well chosen words apply also to me (us). I (we) grieve the loss of times to see you, Mandy and Ben, and all the kids. And we grieve all those special moments that we’ll miss as grandparents in each of the kids lives — missing moments of joy and growth and even hurt in each, where we could rejoice and praise, or empathize and encourage, or just listen and be. We love you all deeply and are so pleased and thankful that you are following God’s leading in your lives to serve Him. We put on a brave and grateful face on it all, and yes, even sincere faith and trust in God’s will and sovereignty. But I (we) didn’t realize before how much the goodbyes and absence would hurt. And to think how much more, and more often, and in more ways it impacts all of your lives — it’s hard to comprehend. May God, through His Son Jesus, give you grace and mercy and tender comfort in this. With much love, Dad and Mom (Grandpa and Grandma)

  5. True and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart and your friendship in writing

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