03 July, 2006


The rhythm of my footsteps crossing flatlands to your door
have been silenced forevermore
The distance is quite simply much too far for me to row
it seems farther than ever before

About 5 days ago, the goodbyes started. The Rijeka Tiger Pirates of 2005-2006 began to go our separate ways. I’ve been thinking about how to write “The Goodbye Post” for a long time now, but the time has come and gone and I’ve continued to stall. How do you summarize a year like this? How do you leave the people who have come to know you more deeply than anyone else, at least at this point in time? How do you capture the laughter, the strain, the hours of boring daily life stuff inexplicably transformed into precious memories, the inside jokes, the tragedy, the joy, the frustrations, the changes we’ve all undergone?

Right before I left, Sara and I were talking about the year and how much we wanted to find the perfect metaphor for it all. Was it a ride, like a merry-go-round or a roller coaster? Was it a beautiful gift, constructed from tears and rain and sweat and smiles and questions and memories and fears? All of the examples we could think of seemed to fall short.

Because I’m going back, the time in Rijeka and the time with friends there is not yet over for me. The experiences and lessons and memories all blend together, and all I can think about is the people on the team. So much happened over the year, and we were all transformed. We had an awesome last few days together, and so far I don’t have any regrets. It’s tempting to want it to go on forever, but that would not be best, and the fact that it is so hard to say goodbye can really only be a good thing. Last summer, I don’t know how many times people took me aside (and John and Taylor and others) and emphatically said that team unity was of utmost concern. That if we came apart, attempts at ministry would be useless. That we would be most attacked and most challenged in our attempts to maintain our relationships as a team, family, and body.

If I’m honest, looking back I can see that it was a struggle. We are probably 9 of the most different people I can imagine and only by God’s grace have we made it through as one. But it is all the more precious because we have had to fight so hard for it. Andy, Marni, Tim, Sara, John, Pete, Taylor, and Michelle: you have become more dear to me than I can express with words. I cannot conceive of any other group of people I would rather have been with over the past year. Thank you for all that you’ve taught me and all that you’ve walked through beside me.

Ultimately, I am grateful. I am so grateful for the memories, the really tremendously FUN times, the friendships, the lessons, the beautiful places, the challenges, and the hope we have that we will get to spend eternity together. I can’t wait until we’re kickin’ it in heaven. Taylor won’t have MCS anymore, and there won’t be loud motorcycles waking us up at 3:30am, and mandatory team fun time can last for as long as we want…

Love you, mean it.

Check out Taylor and Pete’s thoughts.


Jonathan Stephens said...

Is that a picture of Croatia? If so, I'm stunned.

God bless you in all you do.

Anonymous said...

Great musical reference.

Even greater is our God - I am so encouraged by your team and what He did in and through you.

Praying for you as you continue to process, celebrate and mourn the passing of one season to rejoice in the birth of another.

Alexis said...

Yeah, those are pictures of Croatia, but I didn't take them, someone on my team did...

Thanks, Francine.

Tim & Sara said...

Thanks Alexis. I love you so much and I miss you and I'm so glad we'll be friends forever. Mean it.