selfsame well

“Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”

-Khalil Gibran

Last week I said goodbye to my little Kiwi’s, well maybe cried goodbye would be a more accurate way to describe that night.

It felt like my heart was breaking wide open.

Everyone at the farm came, we ate dinner and everyone prayed for Meesha & me, and then the kids gave us goodbye cards.  I started crying before anyone even started praying.  It was that bad.  At one point Little Miss M disappeared, we called for her telling her I had a present for her but she didn’t come.  Meesha went to look for her and found her curled up on her bed, crying.  When Meesha picked her up she started wailing.  Then Emy followed, and not long after that Baby Boy too.  Tati & J held it together but it was obvious they were fighting back the tears.

I love those children.  I love when J says, “I have five Moms!”  And then lists me as one of them.  I count you as one of my own as well, My Dear.  I love those early mornings, when only Emy & I are awake, and she cuddles up next to me with a picture book while I drink coffee and pray.  I love how silly and hilarious Tati is, and I love seeing how she soaks up how delighted I am in her.  She knows I love her big, and she revels in it.  I love watching Isa come into her own, taking risks & being brave, becoming the woman God means for her to be.  I love how Miss M randomly runs up to me to squeeze me tight and scream, “BEE-TTANY TE AMO!”  I love the way her nose is always flushed pink.  I love goofing around with our teenager L, hiding from one another to scare each other, driving her nuts by making embarrassing pictures of her my desktop background.  I love when Vero helps me in the kitchen, so diligently measuring & mixing, sneaking glances at the other kids to see if they’re jealous of her, ahaha.  I love how Baby Boy laughs himself silly, how he’s never stopped slapping his head for fun even though we’ve never encouraged it, how he thinks it’s so funny to call people “Cara de Papa!”  I will never forget you, Potato Face.

I want to tell L about the mistakes I’m making in this switching over from Colombian Spanish to Mexican Spanish.  She would find it just as awkwardly hilarious as I do that instead of saying what means, “I have to pee.” in Mexico, I keep saying, “I have boobs.” Because the same sentence in one country means something else in another.  I saw a bunch of Barbies at a friend’s house the other day and I wanted to call Emy & Miss M over to play with them but then I remembered I don’t live with them anymore.  At a 15th birthday party the other day the Birthday Girl entered the ball room in an antique car… I longed to hear J’s reaction, “Ooosh, carro severo!!”  But J is 2,000 miles away from me now.

That’s a long way away.

I miss my children.  Leaving is what I wanted, but it still hurts.  In my first months in Colombia I asked God if I needed to let go of my Mexican daughters so that there would be room in my heart to love the Colombian children He’d given me.  I was surprised by God’s answer: “No Silly, you just need to open your heart up wider.”  I didn’t know how to do that but I know that somehow I did, because leaving them has been so painful.  Painful in the way a goodbye can only be when you’ve allowed someone to enter in deep into your heart.

I’ve been intentional in allowing myself to grieve, and in feeling everything I need to feel.  That’s why when on the last night I washed up the dinner dishes in Kiwi, and I felt the tears coming, that I didn’t try to stop them.  I just stood there in front of the window, my hands all warm & sudsy, and cried.

The other day I remembered a word of prophecy spoken to me by a girl with whom I had never shared anything about my life as a missionary or what it is I have a heart for.  God told her though, because what she said to me was, “You already have children, but God will give you more.  You will be a Mother to many.”  That was before I ever set a foot in Kiwi.  Now I wonder if my whole life will feel like this, like loving with my whole heart and then letting go.  Again & again & again.  Probably.

Soon I’ll be reunited with all of my Mexican Lovelies, and at the thought of that I am OVERJOYED.  Yet the joy & sorrow are co-existing, I’m allowing them to co-exist.  My heart is simultaneously nostalgic for Colombia and excited to be here in Mexico… and I think I will be like this for awhile.  Grieving & rejoicing.  Crying & laughing.  And I think that’s okay.  I need that to be okay.

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