SPLICE: Grieving

So, another lesson I (Rachel) learned at SPLICE had to do with goodbyes and grieving.  I thought that this was a lesson that I had already learned about enough...I personally have lived in at least 15 places in my life, and nowhere for longer than 4 years since turning 10.  I have said my goodbyes.  I have had my share of grief and loss.  Haven't we all?  Why did I need 2-3 days of training on this?

Kenyans are good at goodbyes, as are most cultures.  Americans, not so much.  When we left Kenya, we were celebrated with almost a month of goodbye speeches, meals, and visits in our honor.  When you leave a Kenyan's house, they don't just say goodbye at the door...they walk you down the walk, maybe even as far as your home.  That signifies that you are an honored guest.  There are special meals, where they bring out the best food they have to offer.  There are special gifts exchanged, like the calabash, a gourd dried and hollowed out and signifying hospitality and friendship.  You know you are loved when a Kenyan says goodbye to you.

On the flip side, I have said so many goodbyes that I breeze over them now.  See you soon.  Thanks for everything...hug...out the door.  Or even, sometimes there "isn't enough time" to say goodbye, and a quick phone call or an email has to suffice.  What does that say about how I value a relationship?  I do value my friends and family, very much.  When I breeze over a goodbye, it is a protective mechanism, because goodbyes hurt.  But I need to recognize that this can be perceived as callous, insensitive, or devaluing the relationship.

On one of the last days of SPLICE, every family got a stone to write on.  Then we made a pile in the middle of the floor, like the Israelites making a memorial alter after crossing the Jordan River, to commemorate God's faithfulness.  We each chose something to write on our stone to remember from SPLICE, something God taught us, something that represents His faithfulness.  This is what I drew:

I realized during my time at SPLICE that I did not always engage well during my time in Kenya.  I don't always engage well in the lives of friends and family.  Why?  Because (among many other reasons) it hurts.  It opens me up to be hurt, and to hurt others, and to get involved in a messy life.  It brings grief.  But that is exactly what God has called us to do--to engage in each others' lives.  To celebrate joys and share sorrows.  To live life abundantly.  The more we engage in the world around us, the more we potentially get hurt.  And grief is hard, but also good--it helps process the hurts, to work through them, to emerge on the other side.  In short, it brings healing to the hurts.  And as we are healed, we can engage more and more in the world and people around us.  Every part of me resists this process, and that is why I drew a cross in the middle of the circle.  It is only through the power of Jesus Christ that I can open up.  To engage deeper, to grieve deeper, to be truly healed.  To love others more than I love myself.  With His help, I step forward into our time in Burundi, ready to engage.

1 comment:

gramma said...

beautifully said...
thank you sweetie