This week, mornings Monday through Friday, I have led craft-making at our church’s Vacation Bible School. This required a fair amount of lesson planning and preparation in the weeks prior. Four days after VBS wraps up, we board a plane with loads of luggage and relocate overseas. I chose this. In fact, I insisted on it. Speculation over my sanity or lack thereof has been rampant. Some have lauded my dedication. Really, it’s none of the above.
See, I love the people at my church. I have the most wonderful church family, and I don’t want to lose a minute I could be serving with them.
The thing is, when you move, there is a tendency to take your time getting involved in a new community. And there is a tendency to emotionally disconnect from those you are moving away from long before you have actually left. But it is the people that make a PLACE your HOME. People are a community: take those people out of their buildings and they can still be a community. If I don’t find ways to connect and make relationships as quickly as possible in any move to a new location, and ways to maintain some of the relationships in the location I am leaving, then I lose the depth of meaning to the life I live. God calls me to community in a worldwide, eternal family, and to draw as many others into that family as He cares to connect me to. How can I waste a single day of that?
That is why I committed to lead crafts for VBS when I knew I just might have to leave around then. I have five days of serving with dozens of people I love and admire. I have seen former art students that passed through my station, that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen this summer at all. I got to rejoice in one little girl joining this amazing family of God! And I am playing arts and crafts with around 90 kids, possibly for the last time for several years.
I can overlook something in the packing, but I WILL NOT overlook people in the moving. It is just too, too easy to do, though. Saturday we will throw an early birthday party for my youngest son, so that he can do this same thing…strengthen the relationships he hopes to maintain to some extent after the relocation, and emphasize the importance of his friendships. When you rarely live somewhere more than five years or so, relationships have to become deliberate.
Do you have friends from childhood that you maintain across distances? I do. Not many, but I do have them. Do you have friends you have maintained from communities you used to live in? I do, although not all of them. It takes work from both parties to keep up with one another regardless of distance. Thank God for the many digital connections that bridge that gap, though! And thank God for friends who work with me to keep in touch! I love them so much, everywhere I go.