Jul 13, 2009

The Longest Walk

Sunday, July 5, 2009. Our Saipan Family.

Family portrait with our home (and even our car). We miss Kimo so much. We plan to bring her over in a few months. This photo was taken just before we left the airport, Sunday morning.

I've seen a lot of Long Walks in my time, and many more will happen in the years to come. But The Longest Walk is one you only witness once, because it is your own. Many before us have taken that teary-eyed trek through the doors of the departure area at Francisco C. Ada International Airport on the colorful little island of Saipan. But at last, after 11 beautiful years, it was our turn. On Sunday, July 5, 2009 Babs, Elijah and I bid farewell and walked through those doors for the last time.

Oh, we'll be back to visit I'm sure, and who knows, perhaps God will bring us back to Saipan to live someday. It's not unheard of after all, for people like us, people who find Saipan's island life agrees with them, to find their way back sooner or later. The Hartshorn family, Mai Rhea Odiyar, and Carol Paez are just a few that come to mind. But the truth is, we can't know what the future holds and so we say our goodbyes as if they may be our last.

Saying goodbye is painfully hard, but it is an unrelenting reality of life in this world. For so many years in Saipan it was easy to convince myself that time wasn't really passing; the cyclical nature of the school year, it's familiar rhythms could trick one into believing that time really was starting over every August. But the truth is,time is linear, ever moving forward, whether we know it or not. In one sense it's a comfort because I realize that had we stayed in Saipan, things would not have stayed the same. If it hadn't been us leaving behind the ones we love, it would have been the ones we love leaving us behind, eventually. As much as I hate to admitt it, the school, the church, Saipan, our lives were--and are--changing irrevocably every day. Things will never be the same again and that's true whether we stay or go. And so, we say goodbye, because it's better than just letting the moments pass without saying the things that matter most:

"I love you. I will miss you. I will see you again."

Our Longest Walk

. . .and we walk on. . .

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