The Last Friday Night

Our Missionary Life
Our Missionary Life
The Last Friday Night

It had been a long week, filled with sorting, emptying, throwing, listing, selling, and stowing. Master closet: done. Master bath: done. Kids bedrooms: done. Pantry: done. Kids bathroom: basically done. Every once in awhile a thought would intrude into my consciousness: “We’re leaving. We’re actually leaving.” But, out of necessity, I brushed the thought aside and moved on. There was work to get done. Lots of it.

Then Sabbath settled like a comforting blanket around us. The kids asked if we could have a candlelight supper. We often do that in the winter when the sun sets early, and this time I suggested that they could eat on their play dishes. This, of course, was met with ear-splitting approval, and they helped prepare supper and ate it like a bunch of happy little crickets.

Once they were tucked in, Matthew and I came downstairs. And then it hit me. The last Friday night. This was our last Friday night in our little home. The room was dark now that the candles were gone, and we both stood in silence, looking out the window. The moon was beginning to rise, backlighting the scattered clouds and illuminating our little piece of land that holds so many memories.

As my eyes scanned it, so many thoughts came at once… memories of looking for a house site together, of designing and building our home, memories of teepees and forts, and Sabbath afternoon walks with family. As I continued to gaze out the window, my memory transformed the snowy landscape into a field of thousands of daisies nodding in the wind, three little heads bobbing amongst them, and then emerging with huge fistfuls and even bigger smiles. My mind wandered down the trail to the greenhouse, and I saw exuberant, dirt-smudged faces and sticky hands as the children meandered through finding the latest edible surprise.

I turned my gaze to the dark, quiet room where I sat. This home holds some of the sweetest and most precious memories of my life— memories of hard work feelings of accomplishment as we built our home together, of bringing precious little bundles home from the hospital, watching them take their first steps, and thousands of other memories that are wrapped up in the crazy-intense, unimaginably sweet stage of babyhood and toddlerhood. As I reflect, I realize I’m not just leaving this little place that I love so well, I’m also closing the last cover on a very precious stage of life.

As I expected, I’m going through a grieving process. But I know a healthy amount of grieving will help me move from the past to the future, and it hasn’t been overwhelming. And although I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the past as we wrap up life in this place I’ve called home for the last eighteen years, I’m looking forward to making new memories in the future— memories we would never make if we stayed when God called us to go.

Most of all, though, I am filled with gratitude— gratitude for the Gift God has given that spans past, present, and future: the Gift of Jesus who left His heavenly home and all that was familiar to Him so that we could have the opportunity to spend eternity with Him. And that is a gift I want to tell others about.

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