Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Of Leaves and Leaving

Autumn is in the air. Or is it? For many of us, autumn is just a tricky spelling word we must teach our children, totally apart from any physical colors, sounds, or smells from our own childhoods.

Personally I miss that feeling of crunching through the leaves and the cooler air that smells of bonfires. Every year I reminisce, and then go back to life in perpetual springtime. We only have two seasons here: wet and dry. I love when the bougainvillea and jacaranda provide a bit of color, but it’s still not the same.

What do you do to celebrate the changing of a season that doesn’t exist? Do you drape your house with fake fall leaves like I do around Thanksgiving time? (This week for Canadians, next month for Americans) Do you put hot cider on the stove to make your house smell autumny? I would mention baking pumpkin bread, but I’ve learned that the very suggestion of canned pumpkin can make some women who can’t get it, weep.

The one thing we can do in the autumn is to look back and reminisce. I’ve spent the last week doing nothing more than to revamp my old blog full of personal stories, and to start up a new ministry blog. That has been an interesting project in itself.

Some of you may prefer to look ahead during the dreary days of fall. This brings up a question I have been mulling over for several weeks since it came up on the Sonlight international forum. My friend Kris wrote:

You know that old saying...

"Send Me, Send Me"...

we hear about it all the time, back home, everywhere.

Where's the saying "Go back, Go back"...

how come there is never any talk of that?

Is there such thing as a graceful exit strategy? Just curious.

Several readers wrote very insightful remarks, but I thought I would open it up to a wider audience. Having never done it, I’m not the one who can say. We just take it a day at a time, a year at a time, and trust God to speak clearly if He wants to redirect our steps. That sounds so overly simplistic.

I agree with one of my cyber-friends who said she wants to be as intentional about leaving as she was about going to the mission field in the first place. I don’t want to stay until one day I go berserk and miss the grandchildren (again with the imaginary grandchildren of the future), and just pack up and go home to be closer to them. Others have been forced to leave the mission field on short notice, and there was nothing graceful about their “exit” for sure.

Is there such a thing as a graceful exit strategy?

IRL* we know what clumsy looks about graceful or even grace-filled?


  1. The situation is grace-filled because HE is. I'm not as sure I can say that *I* have been. :/

    I think I've left skid marks from Oaxaca to here. Well, not even that so much as the 'plan' (laugh with me here) was to return....but the skid marks are there in my heart all the same.

    I trust and do my derndist to obey but I will admit to 'standing up on the inside' just a wee bit.

    I'm sure one of these days I'll be mature enough to answer this question without the toddler behavior references but right now they are a very appropriate description to the playing out of real life in this neck of the woods. :)

    You did want me to be real here right? snicker, snicker...

  2. Oh, dear, I was not referring to your exit as lacking grace, but that of people who leave because they are forced to because of some sort of crisis.

    I'll look forward to hearing your answer when you are ready. And yes, I always want you to be real. I'd rather you be real here in Oaxaca, but that is not happening for now. Always be yourself!

    Skid marks. Now there's a descriptive image.

  3. Skid marks is a great description and I feel like that is what has been happening in my heart these last few months at least in the sense that I'm being dragged in a direction I hadn't planned. My hubby and I were all set to go on HMA and wham...our TL asked us to leave the team. We felt like we had been making progress and things were good (i.e. comfortable) and that this sort of came out of nowhere (although the reality is that there were signs). How do we mourn the loss and embrace the future at the same time. I will say we didn't burn any bridges in our exit and have great relationships with field people and even the boss and his family are friends.

    Praying for direction and wisdom and grace!

  4. How to mourn the loss and embrace the future at the same time.... Another good question. My heart goes out to you, too, Kristy, and I am praying for you today.

    HMA? Home ministry assignment? And TL I guess is team leader. Right?


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