This post is from Blake’s parents, Kathy and Sam…
When Bekah and Blake asked Sam and I to share with blog readers how we felt about their leaving to go to Chile, we weren’t sure if we could actually put into words all the feelings and emotions we’re experiencing. On one hand, we are so happy for them and their desire to answer God’s call to work with the Aymara. On the other hand, we just don’t like saying goodbye. I think Sam kind of put things into perspective when he commented: “Although we may not like saying goodbye, they will never be happy if they settle for less and fail to do what God is calling them to do.”
Sam and I, just like most parents, want our children to be happy. However, as Christians, we know that true happiness is not determined by where we live, what we do, or how much money we have. True happiness is found in Christ alone. I can remember telling each of our children, at one time or another, that my wish for each of them is that they be “smack dab” in the middle of Christ’s will for their lives. It is in that tender place that they will know joy, peace, and fulfillment. So Sam and I rejoice with Blake and Bekah in their happiness and contentment with their calling.
Yet while we may be at peace with Bekah and Blake’s leaving, actually saying goodbye is something else altogether. Still we realize that our saying goodbye is no different from any parent watching their child leave whether they go across town or across the world. Each new door or opportunity our children seize introduces change and uncertainty to the lives that we know. I think this is why goodbyes are so hard. We know that we are essentially closing the door on this current chapter of our lives. Yet the amazing thing Sam and I have discovered is that each new adventure our kids have undertaken have not diminished our lives with our kids, but have enriched and deepened them. I remember telling my kids that even if we go away, we don’t have to grow apart. Keeping in touch and staying close is a matter of the will and the heart. It is not dependent on our location.
One of the first goodbyes we remember saying to Blake was when we was around 2-1/2 – 3 years old and facing surgery. We hugged and kissed him and watched helplessly as he toddled down the hospital corridor wearing a Mickey Mouse gown and clutching a nurse’s hand. As he rounded the corner he looked back to see if we were still there. He looked back to see us on his first day of kindergarten. He looked back through the crowd to find our faces in countless programs and performances at church and school. But we also noticed that as he grew, he began to look back less and less. Summers away from home, mission trips and jobs, a year in Ecuador, and marriage found him eagerly looking forward. His look back was often replaced with a glance and a wave to reassure us, not him.
So, Blake and Bekah, how do we feel about your leaving? We’re incredibly happy for you and the calling you feel from God. We can’t help but be a little apprehensive about what this step holds for all of us, perhaps even a little sad as we think about your being gone (you told us to be honest!). But it is also exciting to look forward with you and think of what your work could mean to men and women, boys and girls, who do not yet know Jesus. It’s just kind of hard to think about what your leaving means to us when so much more is at stake. But we do ask one favor. Please glance back now and then and know that we’ll be here waiting, watching, and praying.
We love you!
Mom and Dad Hart