Boxes packed for storage. Bags packed for an international move.
All that was left were goodbyes. A whole lot of them.
A friend to whom it was especially difficult to say goodbye had one request as we departed: leave me one thing to keep in my house to remember you by.
I left her a vase with the world map on it I had bought at TJ Maxx for $7 a few years before. There wasn’t anything particularly special about it, like most everything else in our basement apartment. We hadn’t invested a lot of money into our home Stateside for we knew we would soon be leaving.
But this vase still sat atop the bookshelf my husband built because, for some reason, it meant something to me. And though it wouldn’t make the voyage to the foreign field, I couldn’t bear to sell it to a stranger. So I gave it to this friend.
She added it to her collection of momentos given by those that left her behind. The problem of being involved in a highly missional church is that the people you love are always leaving.
And her collection is always growing.
Trinkets from South Africa, Tunisia, Spain, and, even, TJ Maxx in Cumming, GA. I think of the ones to whom she will be saying goodbye this year and wonder what special items will be added to the mantle and the walls of the home she shares with her husband and the girls my daughter still speaks of fondly.
They are a special family with a collection of far-away-friends, left-behind adornments, and hearts breaking again and again.
I’m thankful we will have this special home to spend a few nights in when we find ourselves Stateside. I will look around at all the gifted treasures and pray for my friends around the world who have left their friends, families, and prized possessions behind.