As I read a comment written on a recent card, Debrianna sighed sympathetically, “Ahh, you only got a 2-minute hug. That’s so sad.” It must have been the “Pollyanna-thinking” that influenced my reply: “If I hadn’t been there to see her, I wouldn’t have had any hug! So I was blessed to get DOUBLE.”
I count it a great joy to have been able to see all our children and grandchildren as well as many friends on this sweet trip. For those who didn’t know (or forgot—ha), in March I took a 3-and-1/2 week “multi-purpose” trip to the States. Originally I planned to have Jeremiah accompany me and get him settled into life at our home church. The ticket we were able to purchase for him, though, sent him on his own 60-hour adventure! There begins yet another story…for another time. His return changed the Wilhite status now to 6 children stateside and 5 children remaining with us in Africa.
My main intention for the trip was to help Deanna after the birth of their fourth sweet daughter, Moriah Jayne. She was a mere 3-days-old when I first held this itty-bitty-bundle. Of course, getting to play the role of a real-live-grandmother topped the scale of enjoyment. The sounds of the other girls calling, “Coco…Coco…!” still echo in my mind.
Twice our oldest daughter and her family made the effort to travel to see me at Deanna’s. Oh my—if I weren’t deaf already I certainly would be now! What a happy cacophony of chatter from all those children once they grew accustomed to each other again, cousins checking out cousins. I still shake my head and have to laugh at the memories of all the antics that filled those busy days. I must admit to taking far too many pictures. But isn’t that part of the convenience of digital cameras to capture expression, action, even sound with video? Those photos spawn a world of memories that are under lock and key in the vaults of my mind and heart.
How can one depict all the joys of being with family? When my own dear mother and aunt flew from Minnesota to be with us 10 days, we realized this was another very special occasion. As a missionary, one never really knows when, how often, or how long the visits may be. We learn to make the most of the moments. In a way, things take on added value, or perhaps we just appreciate how valuable they really are in the first place.
It was a whirlwind trip toward the end with a wonderful weekend shared with some of our Stateside children/grandchildren and friends at our sending church in Emmaus, PA. How good to see many dear prayer warriors for whom we are not only grateful, but indebted.
The night before I left, the Lord gave me two special verses, Psalm 46:10 and Proverbs 16:3, both of which were needed and prayers were answered in accordance. It is definitely not any easier to say “goodbye” to those you love. It IS another added experience and opportunity, though, which the Lord can use to draw one closer to Himself. The tears both come and go quickly, and there will be more to come. Happy and sad tears, but tears that show we love deeply. Someday there will be no more tears, no more good-byes! Heaven’s joys and the blessing of being with Christ my Savior looks better each day.
How I’ve missed Africa and the family and friends here, as well, though! It’s good to be home…no matter where “home” may be.
Till we meet again…rejoicing in the Lord,