Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Touch of Loneliness

The Cost of Missionary life (Some thoughts after Christmas)

A Winter Sunset in Texas
We attended a Caribbean missionary retreat (see earlier blog on the holidays) being held in Texas this past year.  It was nice being in the US for the Christmas holidays.  One day as I prepared to return to the DR I found myself in a meditative mood and jotted downs some thoughts about that very short visit, and the week with family.  I found myself wrestling with a little melancholy, and tried to be positive about it.     

The Plus side of the visit:
The best was to see our children and our four grandkids.  We just don’t seem to see enough of them. Pictures are just not quite
enough.  I have to confess it, I love and miss my kids.

We were able to eat in nice restaurants (that we miss), like Cracker Barrel, The Olive Garden,  Chick Fil A, and Sonny’s. We enjoyed  shopping in stores with so much variety.   Most of the clothes we buy in the Dominican Republic (DR) has a large markup as everything is imported. We use our US visits to stock up on needed clothing.
It was great to travel on smooth roads and highways without potholes or crazy drivers.  (Not that they are entirely non-existent in the US).
We have a nice comfortable home that needs some handyman work in Titusville, Florida.  Be it ever so humble, it does feel like home to us.  Our son Johnny lives there, and our son Josh is there periodically.

The Negative side of the visit:
Having to deal with the thought, “Why are we here on the mission field?”  I know why we are in the DR, and I truly believe we are making a difference here in people's lives. Helping people to understand the importance of God's principles for their lives is certainly special.  But sometimes we face pressures that cause us to think about a more comfortable life back in the U.S.  

I never had the opportunity to spend much time with my grandparents. They lived in Puerto Rico and we saw them rarely.  A year after I graduated high school, all my grandparents but my father’s mom had passed away.  She suffered from severe alzheimers until she passed away.  Is it fair for my grandkids to not really know me? Is there a little fear that perhaps one day I won't recognize them. Ouch, that thought hurt.
Balance and Reality check:  How much time will my grandkids really spend with me if I were living in the US?
They live in different cities, different states, and with Josh’s son on the way, soon in different countries.  They have normal school schedules and homework, and bed times that will certainly dictate also how much time we can spend with them.  I can’t really expect them to experience more than a few snapshots of my life anyway.
I’m in my late fifties now.  All I can say is that we need to cherish the moments we have with our children and grandchildren.  Be thankful for the opportunities that God gives you and trust Him to help you convey your love to those special ones in your family.  Also, be creative, make an effort to make memories that will last a lifetime when you are with them. I am feeling that this message is disappointing to some, in fact it is a little disappointing to me.  I have to confess, I am a little envious of families here in the Dominican Republic who leave the city to visit their parents in the country on the weekends.  Who live close to their brothers and sisters, and have their families nearby.  Sometimes missionaries "get to feeling" lonely.

1 comment:

  1. yes there is a real grief to that distance. It hits hard sometimes.