There's been a mass exodus out of my life.
Neighbors. Two families across the street moved. Ten years of learning what it looks like to be a neighbor. 5 day clubs where their children whispered "yes" to Jesus. The noise of 13 children (3 in one family, 10 in the other) eradicated. And there's this vacuum of silence.
My mom. She's giving her energy and love and time to an orphanage in India. Serving Jesus is something you never retire from apparently. She's gone and there's no one to laugh at my jokes or bribe my children. She'll be back, but until then, this gap.
My friend and her 3 children. Missions again. Serving Jesus is something kids can do too apparently. Her children run their race and it happens to pass through Africa and Russia, she cheers from the sidelines. Cheers are synonymous with prayer in this word picture. They're gone and there's no one to laugh at my jokes or tea party with us. I'll see them again in a month or more, but until then, this silence.
My friend and her family. God called her husband to a pastorate in North Dakota. When God calls the husband, the whole family has to go apparently. So she trades in trees for prairies, and she gives me her hammock to rest in while she builds a new life. She's gone and there's no one to laugh at my jokes or tell me what the heck to do with the 30 pounds of strawberries my husband brought home today. She may never be back, and oh, the gap.
And for the first time in my life I feel like Pharaoh. Pharaoh, who says, "NO." I want to chase them.
I want them back. Oh why did I let them go!
But instead of running after them, I run the other direction. I run to the mountain.
Walking in the orchard, up one row and down another, I pray.
And I find, to my amazement, that I am blessed.
Blessed to have so many friends who love Jesus. Really love Him. Love Him enough to go.
And I pray for them. Pray and walk until I am weary and content.
And as I fall into bed, I know what He's asking of me.
"Let my people go."
And I give Him the only possible answer.
And I stick on a post-it prayer.
"But next time, send me, too."
Because there is really no point in being funny if there's no one to laugh.