More About...

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

on leaving and being left...

When I was in high school, I had the privilege of being an Outdoor School counselor 5 times. My nickname was Hershey... I do not remember why that name stuck but it did. I taught the 6th grade students all about the resource of plants. Alice Algea and Freddie Fungus took a Lichen to each other. I comforted the kids when they were scared of the big spooky cabins and helped them get up in the morning when it was the LAST thing on earth they wanted to do.

I recall during the Spring of my Senior year of high school... 15 years ago.... when Cherokee (the camp director) called those of us up who had given of our high school time to be counselors. He honored us with certificates and all the kids sang to us. I cried. It was the end of something I thoroughly enjoyed.

I found my name tag last week.

Ah the memories.The most vivid memory is of the first time I was a counselor for the Outdoor School Program. There was a boy who was small for his age but really tough. And he knew how to irritate the staff. For some reason, he had a special place in my heart that week. And when the kids were loading up their buses to go home at the end of the week, he ran up to me, gave me a big hug and started crying. "Hershey, I don't want to leave you." Of course I started to cry too.

I got on my bus after that and thought.. if caring this much for people causes this much hurt.. I don't want to do it!

Now that was not the first time in my life of experiences sorrow over leaving or being left but that one memory is still so strong in my mind 19 years after the fact.

There are so many moments of leaving and being left in this life that God has called me to. I believe God desires that we fully engage wherever He has placed us. This means I leave and am left by dear people everywhere I go. My heart is in so many places in the world!

This lovely couple and their three children are moving to the States this fall. They are precious to my heart. He is German, she is French. I have enjoyed deep discussions, lots of laughs, fun game play and doing ministry together with them. I shall miss the Kocherscheidt family greatly!

I do not know what is easier.. leaving or being left... I spent many years doing the leaving, then I spent several years being left, and now I am the one doing much of the leaving again.

I think it is hard to be left...the emptiness that remains after you are left is almost unbearable at times. But your life goes on. God brings new people into your life to fill that emptiness... not to replace what was once there.

I think it is hard to leave... the emptiness that remains in your heart from the people, places, events that you leave behind can be gut-wrenching. But life goes on. The pain slowly fades. God provides new people, places and events to fill your life... not to erase or replace what once was.

So in this life of leaving and being left, the one constant is God. And for this I am eternally grateful! I have learned that even though it hurts to say goodbye, I need to fully engage and invest wherever God puts me.

In the middle of the leaving and being left there are comings and new beginnings. These two have been a blessing to me. Sabine and Bettina are German and they are so patient with me and so encouraging as I struggle to learn Deutsch.

With all my heart I want to be able to speak the heart language of reach person I speak with. But how can I learn German, remember my Spanish, learn French, Greek, Italian, Finnish, Swedish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian.. etc...

Glimpses of God's stunning creations in Kandern!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Catching up...

I made a new friend. :-) I know that this is laughable to many of you as you know that I have many good friends, but it is not often that I find a friend as easily and as God-appointed as this one. Kerry was in Kandern for 5 years previous to my arrival. So we met over the 4th of July and it was obvious that God had ordained we should be friends. I am so thankful for her!

I was a wedding coordinator for my dear friends the Holidays as their oldest daughter was getting married here in Kandern. I met the Holidays the first time I went to Lithuania and they have greatly impacted my life since then! I took this photo during the rehearsal dinner... the sky was stunning.

Lindsay and Patrick are a great couple and I was thrilled to be able to help them and get to know Patrick and his family! Sadly, I have no photos... I was too busy to stop and take photos. Hopefully I can get some from the family and share them with you. There are a few on this website.. it was really beautiful and I am delighted to have been a part of it.

The day after the wedding I gathered together a group of friends and we went to dinner at a Straussi. Deb, Thad and Jana and Brad are four people who I spent a lot of time with... when we are all in town. that Sunday was the last time until probably October when all of us will be in town at the same time.

These places are open 4 months out of the year and have great atmosphere, local food and good prices. We try to find new ones all the time to try out. yes... Brad was trying to edge Deb out of the photo... or was it Deb trying to hid from the photo? I sure get a lot of amusement from this group!

Two days later, I flew to Spain to meet up with my dear friend Claudia for a 10 day holiday.

We enjoyed sun, gorgeous views, exploring old cities, hiking in dry/forested/rocky areas, swimming in the ocean with other people, swimming in lakes with fish, turtles, ducks and other people. I loved how quickly my spanish came back and I even got to help a couple by translating what they needed to a shop keeper... they wanted the horn of a bull.. .just the horn for a gift... yeah... like any souvenir shop would sell just the horn. Sooo.. here are some photos of the lovely vacation I enjoyed.
View from our balcony:

Areas we got to hike in.. this was the entrance to a water gorge... stunning!:
the town of Ronda is connected by this amazing bridge:

Antequera has too many churches to count.. this was the highest church in the town...

Where we swam with ducks, fish, turtles and people.. Spanish, Dutch, British, German:

And some of the "animals" we encountered....
for more photos click here: Spain holiday 1. And here: Spain holiday 2