Connecting When I Know I’m Leaving

If you asked me a month ago how long I’d be living in Kankakee, Illinois, I would have answered about three and a half more years. If you ask me today, the answer is sixty-four days. After December 15th, I may never see Kankakee again.
All the friends I thought I’d see every day for the next four years will be gone in sixty-four days. All the profs I hoped to have again will be gone in sixty-four days. All the black squirrels clogging up my Instagram will be gone in sixty-four days. My church will be gone in sixty-four days.

This decision has changed the way I view everything, and not for the better. Just yesterday, I was thinking through my schedule and seeing where I could carve out time to grab coffee with a friend. It would be a very tight fit in between classes and subtract from my study time for an exam two days later. Ugh. Why even go? Why invest in a friendship that will probably disappear in sixty-four days? After all, I can’t keep in touch with everyone.

It gets even worse when I go to my church in Kankakee. I see people I don’t know and have no motivation to meet. After all, I’m leaving. Gross, Michelle. Not only is this a super selfish line of thinking; it also reveals major flaws in my beliefs about the church: The church isn’t a club. It’s a family. Every Christian in the whole world is my relative. When I go to my Grammie’s house eight hours away, do I ignore her because I know I’m leaving and there is no point in investing in a relationship with her? Of course not! During the few days we have together, we cook, eat, shop, talk, and laugh together! Then, we are apart again, but always eager to be together again! I should be doing the exact same thing with my Grammies in Christ.

So as I go my little “family reunion” on Sunday, I’ll walk in, knowing I have about nine Sundays left with them. So I’ll walk into church and give Rod and Donna big hugs. I’ll compliment the dresses of some five-year-old twin girls and hope I get a chance to hold the new baby. I’ll greet the pastor and his wife, as well as the members I do and don’t know as they mill in the lobby after service. I will bond with them until I leave.

Maybe I’ll see them again on this Earth. I hope I do, but maybe I won’t. It seems kinda sad, pursuing bonding with brothers and sisters you know you have to leave. But Luke 16:9 says this: And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.

What does this mean? It means when I get to heaven, I’ll have one heck of a welcoming party!

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