Monday, August 9, 2010

More than Conquerors

If there is one word in the English language that I can honestly say I hate, it's the word "good-bye."

Whenever I just think of saying good-bye to someone my soul aches, my heart beats fast and I physically need to shake myself out of the feeling. Yet life itself is filled with good-byes. Last week I said good-bye to my first summer at Student Life. My question is "But where did it go?" I thought we just finished our first camp.

I was surrounded by good-byes last Thursday. That’s why I felt compelled to share this thought with you right now while I'm still caught in the after math of farewell.

A 75-day journey that changed my life. 11,000 miles, 19 states, and 25 simply amazing people. I remember my first day coming into training scared to death, surrounded by a sea of unfamiliar faces. Little did I know that Orange Team 2010 would effortlessly become family, and a strong component of my heart.

It’s the little things that bonded us together-bursting out into random song wherever we went, dance parties (I always tried to stand by Tucker because he was DEFINITLY the best dancer on the team), hours upon hours packing the missions trailer, the terrible Kansas trips, load ins, and the glorious 100 minute load out. I think I have eaten enough fast food to satisfy my now suffering body. It was all about Secret encouragers, waking up before the sun, ladies night, and “Sons and Daughters of the living God” 77 times over. More importantly, we’re family. All brothers and sisters spread out amongst this big country. Although I will never wake up and spend every breathing hour with these people, or wake up in the same bed as them, or even just get to worship with them, I know that they are no farther than a text, phone call, or facebook message away.

Seeing what was left of the team pack up their bags into trunks and back seats of the Baby Penske reminded me that every beginning has an end. But every ending invites a brand new beginning. The things we learned will never depart from us; for they are imprinted in our souls forever. Some of us will come back to serve multiple summers, some of us will step into the real world and work. Some of us will soon get married and start families, or graduate college; but one thing will always be: We are more than conquers.

Good-byes are not forever. Neither is parting such sweet sorrow. If I have connected in such a way to another person, then they are a permanent part of me. They do not leave intact, for they have shared with me a bit of themselves, which I have willfully absorbed into my heart. God's gift to us to compensate for good-byes is "memory." So with that I will always remember the family that is OT10.

And so as the roadways across this great country fill with our neighbors and friends returning home and closing this journey, I take this moment to thank God that although we may never see each other again, I know that whatever I may need, you will always be there.