Saturday, March 21, 2009

Finishing this chapter

The last semester we were in China, previous to this Singapore chapter, I remember feeling that a change was coming. I thought it meant we would move back to the States, so when Erik called me and said we'd been asked to move to Singapore, I was floored. It wasn't that I didn't want to come. I just didn't want to leave.

Thankfully, when I first had that feeling that we were going to leave (months before we knew) I thought, "What would I wish we had done if we did leave?" I made a list, and we chose something each week to do on our family nights. They were simple things like, "Watch the fan dances at night" and "eat more street food." I also took pictures of the things you might take for granted - our building, the market, the places our kids liked to play. I think we managed to finish with no regrets, if not without tears and longing to stay.

So here we are about 2 months out from leaving Singapore, and we are once again looking to finish well. This morning we hit the Tiong Bahru park, a.k.a. "Wobbly train park." We haven't gone for awhile. It's one of the places we went when the kids were younger and our days weren't so full. It was an incredibly hot day so we didn't stay too long, but as we were there, and then driving home, I had a feeling I know I will have more and more frequently in the next few months: sadness. As much as this wasn't the place we chose, God chose it for us, and it has been good. God knew we needed to be here for so many reasons, and He has grown us greatly through it. This is where our kids started school, learned to swim like fish, discovered another culture and biome (yes, we're studying the rain forest biome right now!), and traveled to places we never dreamed we'd see. As much as we are thrilled about this next chapter, we are going to miss this one.

I told Erik on the way home that part of me wishes I didn't have mixed feelings. I know people who have left places without looking back, glad to leave and be done with that chapter. I don't feel that way, but I guess I'm glad, because it means this place has been good for us. To quote from Shadowlands, "the pain then is part of the joy now." The more joy an experience gives us, the more pain there will be in leaving it. But would you really want to miss the joy just to not have the pain?

So you can pray that we finish this chapter well, with no regrets, but not without tears. We have loved Singapore and want to enjoy it fully til the end.

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