Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Finding The Good in Goodbye

Dusting shelves and packing up dishes. Paying the final bills. Taking down my pictures and calling the electrician to reconnect the original water heater. Returning my P.O. box key and gathering up all my spare apartment keys. Organizing my remaining belongings into various categories: give away, pack, and possibly pack if there's space.

The reality of my immanent departure comes in waves. Usually it doesn't seem real, but other times it hits me. When I'm taking yet another bag of garbage out to the burn pile. When I'm bagging up my remaining food items to give away. When I'm researching cell phone plans in America or checking my email hoping to see something from a potential future employer.

I've crossed over Ugandan borders 20 times, and I have a full passport to show for it. But one week from today, I'll be flying out of Uganda for the final time. This is really happening. I'm moving back to America.

Perhaps it's all the self-reflection getting to me, but I find it appropriate that I'm going home with three bags, like they represent my three years spent in Uganda. As I clean windows and sweep out the long-neglected nooks and crannies, I find it symbolic that I'm alone with my thoughts once again. Alone with God. Much of the past years have been spent just like this--alone.

And that's not such a bad thing I've come to learn. In all that alone time, I've had many opportunities to practice depending on God, communicating with him, listening to the quiet nudges of the Spirit. I relied on Him to speak into confusion and put the chaos into order. I grew to love my time spent alone, with Him. I learned that even in the silence there can be complete fullness.

In these final days here in Uganda, even though everything else is changing, this has not changed. I'm still leaning on Jesus for strength, for patience, for ordering the chaos. I'm asking him to help me finish well. Listening for his voice as I stare at blank walls, empty shelves, and full suitcases. Relying on him for all that's ahead- the final goodbyes, the travels, the unknown of the future. Trusting him with the loss of leaving, the excitement of going home, and the hope for all that might be.

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.
She who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with her.
Psalm 126:5-6


  1. Good luck, and safe travels. Will you keep writing?

    1. Thank you! I imagine I might write some if there's still interest, but it won't be as frequently.

  2. For cell phone plans on the cheap: 1. Join your parents' family plan. 2. Use Ting. 3. Use Freedompop. Both Ting and Freedompop use the Sprint network which is fine in the Iowa City area. We use Ting and pay about $40 a month for two smart phones with data/text.

    1. Thanks for the tips, Eric! I'm actually going to try out Cricket and see how that goes.

    2. Oh ya, Cricket should be good, too.

  3. Great blog!!

    If you like, come back and visit mine:

    I would really like to receive a visit from your country!

    Pablo from Argentina