Yesterday, I had to do something to which I've become accustomed and yet never gotten used to: I had to say good-bye to people I love.
We drove to the airport during My Airman's lunch break to see the H's off yesterday. They came as a family of 4, and left as 6 (they keep saying they just need 1 more baby so there will be 5 in the hive)... a family I have come to know very well in the past few years. It's hard to believe they have known me since I was 16. Aside from our pastoring family (well, and my parents :P), there is only one family left who knew me as a teenager. There are still a handful who knew me as a single, but the majority of them are gone, as well.
I think part of the reason it was so hard to say goodbye to them is that they have always been such great encouragers -- Mrs. H, especially (she's my "Ate" Amie' for those of you who understand Filipino customs and such).
I remember when I first struggled with the definition of "modesty" and finally gave up my pants; she was there to help me through different feelings and emotions I had trouble with. She gave me her testimony regarding modesty, was always ready to share struggles/persecution she had endured, and would often find skirts for me. She helped my friends with so many things for my wedding. When my honey went TDY, she called just to see how I was doing, dropped little notes or cards in the mail to say she was thinking about me, baked loaf after loaf of banana bread (anyone else who has tried to use her recipe has discovered that their loaves just never quite taste the same! What's the deal with that?), and did countless other things that touched my heart.
When we found out we were pregnant, she was one of the first people in the church that we told. Actually, I didn't even have to say a word. I just walked up to her, caught her eye, and smiled -- she went ballistic! My Airman kept saying, "How did she know?!?!?" Doesn't he know that he will never understand how women know these things? I don't even think that *I* understand how women know these things. ;o)
Involved in so many aspects of our church -- nursery, New Mom's Ministry, Little Praisers, deacon (that would be Mr. H, obviously :P), choir, coordinating baby showers... on and on and on -- the H's have truly been a blessing to so many people. They will be dearly missed; there is no doubt about that.
It makes me wonder what people will think when we PCS next year. Will they be sad? Will the church notice our departure? Have we been involved enough to make a difference? Are we really doing all that we possibly can in our church? I want people to say that we looked for every opportunity to serve the Lord in our local church, just as the H's have...
I know that this is just another part of life in the military, but that thought never makes things easier on any of us. Yes, it's expected; yes, it's considered the norm for military church (we have PCS fellowships on a regular basis). Even so, it's always hard and we always shed tears for those departing.
I guess there is only one thought that makes watching dear families in Christ leave even remotely bearable... knowing that whether it's "here, there, or in the air," we will see each other again because of our faith in Christ. That is a promise to claim and hold near to our hearts... Praise the Lord for that!