Thursday, August 6, 2009

Does It Ever Get Any Easier? - Guest Blogger

Yesterday, after a ten day jaunt across the Atlantic, my mother-in-law flew back to the land of town-halls and home of health care debates. It was her third visit to Portugal, and we (present company, son-in-law included) had a wonderful time.

We packed an entire year into almost no time at all. We took a vacation – three days near a quiet northern beach. With decorations, we celebrated everyone's birthday except maybe mine and the president's. We had Christmas, although without decorations. For the sake of maintaining the appearance of sanity with the neighbors, I drew the line at a glowing fake Fraser Fir resonating from the window in early August. We played. We worshipped. We loved. And, of course the night before it all came to an end we cried. Especially the kids.

They bawled and moaned. They yelped and blubbered. They groaned and sobbed, and finally when all of that was finished, they sniveled and whimpered and wept a little more.

The thought of Mimi leaving and not coming back until spring made them almost hysterical. No, it did make them so.

To a pre-schooler, eight months might as well be eight long years. It's like a prison sentence only without an early out for good behavior or any chance for parole.

Skype is great, but it just isn't the same as a warm hug or the fullness of a belly laugh.

So ever since she left, I've been wondering if it gets any easier? Don't get me wrong, with God's magnificent grace and abundant provision even in the worst worldwide financial crisis in almost a century, I don't have any real blues to sing. We have a nice home, rice and beans on the table, comfortable beds, and plenty of love one to another. We have many friends who love us dearly here.

Yet, with such great uncertainties regarding both time and possibilities of future family visits, will it ever become less difficult to say goodbye to Nanny and Pawpaw? To Gramps or Uncle Danny?

I don't think so, but neither do I want it any other way. I want to teach my kids that life is never fair and some sacrifices are well worth with it.

I believe that children should be sheltered from wickedness but not necessarily from heartache. Yearning, without instant satisfaction produces much in the way of gratefulness upon fulfillment. Pain is a valuable and important emotion that brings with it maturity, strength, and an appreciation for joy when what is hoped for finally arrives.

Daily, my family lives a fish-bowl existence. At school, the kids are those of a “married priest” from a “strange religion.” They get peppered with questions and constantly battle stereotypes. It will just get worse and worse as they grow. That's what makes these excursions so important to us. We have a little piece of Americana for a few days. Personal attention from Mimi makes everything better. Little Debbie's, kool-aid, and Laffy Taffy serve as a wonderful balm. Then she leaves, and the lessons begin. It doesn't ever get easier, but we learn a lot along the way.

Written by Michael Andrzejewski


Jill said...

No, it doesn't get easier. I think you pinned it down when you talked about God's grace. These little bits of "Americana" are important to missionaries on foreign fields. And even though the inevitable goodbyes hurt, those links to home are important. Thank you for sharing your heart. I'm praying for all of you.

Mom said...

This was a nice post Michael. All of the kids will have to learn to take the sadness of visitors leaving along with the joy and anitcipation of them coming. Hey, I know how they feel.Its good to be home but I sure did hate to leave you all. Im feeling real guilty right about now because you said we didnt celebrate your birthday. We will blame it on Nina because she didnt call you down stairs when we sang happy birthday and blew out candles!:) Justice was not waiting on that chocolate cake!! Saturday was a Christmas and Birthday celebration for all of us.
Happy Birthday Michael.
Love you all, Mimi

Nina in Portugal said...

Michael was just trying to be funny when he said we didn't celebrate his birthday or the presidents (Obama's birthday was this week I think).

Anyway, he was just kidding about that and he said he wasn't the least bid offended that we didn't call him. I didn't call him cause I knew he didn't really care if we included him or not....I guess I thought he was busy.

Dani Joy said...

Feeling this big time!

I guess I have just succome to the fact that goodbyes are part of it all. No, I am not callous. We too ball when family has to leave. But, it´s been happening so much over the 9 years that well, to some extent I cry less. The hurt deadens a little.

I agree with what you say, though. I don´t want my boys to ever take family for granted or anything we have. I don´t want us to grow callous.

I miss everybody, now! grief!
;) It comes and goes in waves.

So glad you had a lovely time with your Mom/Grandma/MIL

oh and Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas. (just didn´t want to be left out of that)

Mom said...

Ok... now I dont feel so bad

TCKK said...

Thank you for the reminder. We, who are stateside and get to be with our families all the time, need to be reminded what our missionary friends go through. I will be more grateful and thankful when I go see my parents again. 'Thank you Lord for making our ministry field close to home and please be with and give extra comfort to Nina and her family and all your other children who you send to far away places.'

Becka said...

It may not get easier, but its worth it all.
The day ya'll get to see the pizza man get saved & the man you ask prayer for the other week, will be all worth it.

Jungle Mom said...

Oh boy! Sounds so familiar! It never gets easy, just easier to hide. I am now in the boat where it is my children and grand children leaving. Another kind of pain.

People here call my husband,"Padre" a lot. They do not know what to call me!

Your kids will have some rough patches, but when it is all said and done, they will be stronger people. One day, they will thank you! But you know this!