People have told me to not think too hard about my “lasts” in Chile but rather to fix my mind on the “firsts” of when I get back to the States — easier said than done, folks.
Last night, I said goodbye to I-don’t-even-know-how-many people at my last event at El Oasis. I received lots of hugs and kisses and well wishes along with a Chilean flag signed by many and a book from my Charco (Bible study/service group) and a couple other recuerdos from dear friends. Oh, I was also given tissues: “You need these much more than I do right now.”
I have definitely never cried that much all at once in front of that many people, but I love them all so much that I didn’t even really care.
I wasn’t crying because I can’t bear the thought of going home — I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone and picking up the life I kind of put on pause for these five months. I think I was crying because my heart is just so full of love for those people and that community that it hurts a little to uproot myself from it all. They have accepted and included me so beautifully that there’s no way to look at them without seeing the heart of Christ. I am so thankful for every bit of learning I have soaked up from that place — from the organized events to the students’ voluntary service to impromptu conversations and encouragement… God is good, and He is faithful, and He provided me with “immeasurably more than I could’ve asked or imagined” this semester.
“No nos olvides.” “Don’t forget us.” One of the students wrote this on my flag. That would be quite impossible.
Another guy from El Oasis reminded me “si no en esta vida, en la proxima” (“if not in this life, in the next”).
I am flying to the United States at 8:30pm this Monday, and I hope that the Lord has it in His will that I come back to Chile one day; but if not, I will surely find my brothers and sisters in celebration in Heaven. What a lovely truth.
I’m not sure it’s actually a bad thing to think about the “lasts” here. Caleigh told me that “crying is beautiful,” so I think I’ll just let “all the feels” happen. Stay tuned for when I prepare to say goodbye to my family here…
Peace and Blessings and Sweet Emotion x
(From the beautiful, wonderful Santiago de Chile)