There are still some days that I am amazed at the irony of where I live. I am a person who likes things to stay the same. I don't really get excited about change. When people say "I love change". I look at them like they are crazy. That being said I live in a place that almost everything seems to constantly change. The crew changes almost daily. The country we are docked in changes multiple times in a year even if one of them is for about 10 months. Those are the big ones. I think living in a place that has so much change has taught me to rely on the Lord's constant faithfulness through every change. He is there on the hardest and the best days for me.
Left to right: Front Row:Kayla, Jessica Katie Back Row: Remy, Me, Krystal
The picture above is from my birthday a few weeks ago. I went to dinner with a few of my closest friends from the ship that were able to come. Remy, Katie, Kayla and Jessica teach in elementary with me and Krystal works in the hospital. I had to say a final goodbye to all these women this week for the last time with the exception of Krystal who will be returning for 1 month in Benin in September.
I have had a few kind of hard goodbyes in my time on the ship but for some reason almost all of the hardest ones have come on the same year for me. It's hard to imagine what it's really like if you have not lived on the ship, but I'll try and explain. Katie and Remy and I were not only close friends but also coworkers and cabin-mates. That means we spent a lot of time together. We have traveled to multiple countries and gone on many adventures together. I thought I really knew my friends from home and that they really knew me and then I found out the kind of relationships that are forged in this wonderful floating home. We see the best of each other and we are there when the worst comes out too. When I first came to the ship the hardest thing for me was feeling like no one really knew me. Well after some time that completely changed. I now have friends who know me deeply for the good and the bad and love me through all of it so well. These kinds of friendships are priceless, but make it that much harder when it is time to say goodbye. As these women go back to their home countries I carry in my heart many, many fond memories of laughter, encouragement, prayer, adventure and growth. Even though the pain of saying goodbye seems more than I can bear at the moment, I wouldn't trade it to miss out on the depth of relationship that I have with them.
I am so thankful for the dear sweet friends I have on the ship that are returning for next year in Benin. I know this opens new opportunities for new friends but it sure is a hard process. I would appreciate your prayers through this time of grief.