Yesterday afternoon we said goodbye as our family split up for the first time. Our whimsical autumn trip in the States came to an end as I said farewell to my two girls. Now, I am flying over Japan on a fourteen-hour flight to Taiwan. After spending a few hours in Taiwan, I will take another three-hour flight to my final destination, Bangkok.
For the first time in thirteen years, my wife & my daughter are not traveling with me. They are staying in the States because our daughter needs additional speech therapy that is not available in Thailand. Our world has been turned upside down since her initial diagnosis this summer, and for the first time in many years, our future is uncertain. But, for this blog post, I want to focus on the cherished moments Jana and I shared the night before our tearful goodbye.
Rarely do I think about it, when I am living my fast paced day-to-day life in Bangkok. It never enters my mind that I might not see my family again every morning when I ride my scooter to work. Jana & I assume that we will be faithful servants for the day and be reunited again for dinner. But, when an unchangeable event forces you to sacrifice a significant amount of time apart, the dark thoughts of never seeing each other again creeps into your mind. (Hey turbulence just hit, someone must have a sense of humor). And unfortunately when these dark thoughts overcome me, I instantly occupy my mind with busy chores. Instead of embracing the pain of the separation, I launch into packing, cleaning, reading or surfing the Internet. But thankfully, the evening before I left, Jana forced me to sit down and focus on her.
The tears, laughter, intimacy, and conversation we shared that last night together was a breath of fresh air during this troubling time. We talked about the ‘what ifs’, we contemplated the ‘maybes’, we cried over the ‘separation’, and we loved each other with a ‘passion’ of saying goodbye. Of course we did not want to embrace the “unthinkable,” but sharing those cherished moments that last night prepared for us for the possibility of never seeing each other again in this life.
It was refreshing to take the time and truly enjoy one another. I truly embraced my wife with a passionate love that had been buried in busyness the past few months. Praise God that Jana forced us to turn off the distractions and spend time as a humble couple hurting before God. If the unthinkable happens and I do not see Jana again, I am thankful that we spent our final night together cherishing one another instead of “just surviving”.
“How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful! Your eyes are like doves.” ~ Cherished Moments . . .