Sunday, September 27, 2015

Goodbye Ferris Wheel

I can't quote Brynna's description exactly, but the word she chose to use for the past 24 hours was this: a celebration.

Brynna leaves Chicago to move to South Africa tomorrow, which is both incredible and sad too. It's mostly the former though, since we all know this is exactly where she should be going and the Lord has her going for this time and purpose to care for three precious foster children. It's beautiful to see His hand in every aspect of her moving overseas, and a privilege to walk through these last days in Chicago with her. 

I'm reminded this week of all of the missionaries that we've welcomed on the "other side" throughout my growing up years in Czech. We were always on the receiving end of faithful servants who had left their own countries to move overseas. I loved when new families or singles would arrive in Czech! I loved new teammates and hearing the stories of all of their journeys. It was a thrill and gave me perspective too, since all I knew was life in Czech (other than visits to the States).

This is the first time I am stateside, watching a friend leave her home to go overseas to serve the Lord and His people. It definitely is different on this end! Yet, I love being a part of the process on both sides. It's painful and it's joyful both at the beginning, and at the destination. It's exciting and amazing to watch God bring His provision of peace to these transitions. I am realizing how much I love to see Him precisely in those places of what is "unknown". 

So instead of this being only a parting, it was a celebration. We celebrated friendship, Chicago, fall foods (which Brynna won't have in South Africa!), delicious warm donuts (even gluten-free!) and early mornings. We celebrated what the Lord has done in the past few years, and what He has in store for each of us - some knowns and many unknowns. 

We picnicked in the city on a patch of grass yesterday. We stared up at the sky, trying to find stars...I think we ended up counting three. (We saw a few airplanes too, so I think that kind of counts in the city?) We got up early to take a free ride on the ferris wheel at 6:30am on Navy Pier, since today is the last day it will ever run (Chicago will be getting a bigger one and replacing the old one). Simple things, but ones that mark this time, this season and an end of a time, but the start of a new one. 

Growing up as a Missionary Kid, my parents really modeled and taught us the importance of saying "goodbye" well. It's a lot more painful to do that in the moment, but so much more rich and deep in the long run. I never liked admitting that I had to say goodbye to those who would leave to go back to the States, but it helped to acknowledge that truth and then act like it really was happening, instead of covering it up with casual see-you-soon's.

This was not just a goodbye to the ferris wheel, but a ride to mark a goodbye to Brynna. Though I do hope to see you soon, Brynna! A reunion will happen somewhere, one day! There was some bitterness in realizing this was a "last" of sorts, but joy in dreaming of gathering again, wherever that may be. Chicago, maybe? Or Czech? Or somewhere completely different? 

I understand just a little tiny sliver now of what it was like for the families and friends saying goodbye to those that we would then see on the other side in Czech. It's unsettling because you don't know exactly when or where you will next see those dear people. It's hard; and yet, you wouldn't have it any other way and you love seeing God's faithfulness. 

So after all, yes, Brynna, we celebrate today. Day by day, the Lord shows His goodness. 


  1. I LOVE the picture with the table!!!!

  2. Mmmm...This post really articulates the bittersweetness of saying goodbye. As an MK I often feel like my life is a serious of tough goodbyes. Thank you for putting words to it and also providing insight into how to deal with them.

    Much love to you, Friend! And I am saying a prayer for Brynna's travels.

    Lucy Rose


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