Folks, family, friends, we are down to the wire. This is the final day of preparation. I could maybe liken the feeling to having trained for a marathon or some other physical feat of endurance. In some respects, the test begins tomorrow; in many ways, the tests have been all along. That’s life.
Those of you who know me best know my fascination with observing human responses and reactions: Why do we do the things we do? The past six months since making the choice of Peru public have been another intriguing case study.
Some fair-weather friends immediately dropped away. They hadn’t signed up for something this heavy. They prefer the happy-go-lucky part of my personality. Hard work? Difficulty? Change? No, thank you.
Other long-term relationships stopped abruptly, many with a common theme. This is just Shawn. [:rolled eyes:] I don’t need to hear him write what he wants people to hear when I know who he really is. Some of these went out of their way to let me know I was blocked, and they would not be reading the blog. (I can say that here because they won’t read it. Heh, heh.)
New people have jumped on board because blogs are interesting and stories are fun and missionary work may be intriguing–from a distance. This group was the most unexpected to me. Why would anyone who doesn’t know me want to read my words? They are also the most frightening group in some ways… Why are you here, really? Hmm….
Some have made this experience all about them. How could you do this to me? Didn’t you think about me before you chose to leave? What will I do when you’re gone? You must promise to write and call me twice a week when you get there! (Never mind that we have spent little time together in the past decade.) They are the most exhausting, but they’ve actually helped give me clarity on the whys and wherefores of this step. “I’m sorry dearest person in all the world (Ahem…), but I’m still leaving. God and your other friends will still be here. You’ll be fine.”
A few blasted me with criticism initially, but wanted to hear my responses. Once they knew what we were about, they changed their minds and have been some of my strongest support.
Others have chosen to deepen their relationship with me. They are the ones who WhatsApp me after a blog to let me know they’re praying or to tell me how something I said affected them. They share with me what God is doing in their lives, and that is (usually) very encouraging because it shows me that God is faithful and reminds me how much He cares and teaches me more about what He requires. I appreciate all the private messages. They are a joy.
Then there are the Old Faithfuls. They’ve just steadily plugged along beside us through this experience, not because of the experience, but because of our friendship. They are faithful friends because they are faithful friends. They’re the ones who’ve dropped by and stayed too late more the once, yet they know when to stay away so we can get stuff done. The ones who offer to take the children so we can work without criticizing us for being bad parents who don’t helicopter over their children 24/7. They’re the ones… Where do I stop? They’re just great.
And then there are the silent ones. They are silent. Creepy.
I did not start writing with all of you in mind. I wrote mostly to efficiently tell my extended family and friends what’s up. And I wrote because writing is cathartic for me, and vulnerability is healthy: I needed those things.
Many of you have asked over the last number of days what will happen to the blog. We’re nearing Day 0–What then? I don’t know. I think it will keep going with regular updates initially, but I’m not sure beyond that. Maybe I’ll have to check in with you all in a few months to see what you think.
I can pretty well tell by your willingness to return that you want to stay connected. That’s appreciated. And yes, it’s okay to share the blog. It started out somewhat private, but it certainly isn’t now. Yes, I’m aware of the dangers, but you may message me your concerns if you like.
Thank you to you all for your support up to now. This is an end and a beginning. God has been faithful to us, faithful through His people. Thank you to those who have been His hands and feet and mouth (except for you silent ones…).
See you tomorrow.