Sunday, August 14, 2016

Small dreams, big dreams

I have a window in my kitchen that faces our backyard. Much of my days are spent cooking and watching, washing dishes and listening, making granola and checking. The kids are often outside, playing on our mini-playground with the zipline, and I keep an eye on them through the window.

Soon after I moved here, I started asking my questions, listening to the stories. And somewhere in the middle of living my own life of homeschooling and reading and learning and friend-making and writing and cooking a mediocre dinner, I found a dream.

It’s a small dream. Don’t laugh. And please don’t roll your eyes. My dream is this: to have both Christian and Muslim kids playing in my yard at the same time.

It’s really nothing new, nothing that’s not already happening somewhere in this town right now. While there are a couple Christian and Catholic-specific schools and several Muslim-specific schools, there are also public schools where both kinds of kids attend. There are parks and arcades where all kids are welcome. While some streets are mostly Muslim or mostly Christian, some have a mix. And kids, they just like to ride bikes and look for rocks and chase each other.

It's almost too easy where I live. Indonesia is a country where tolerance is not only valued, but drilled daily into kids’ heads at school through the daily recitation of the Pancasila. This 17,000-island, 700-ethnic-group strong country depends on tolerance for its very survival. With so many cultures and languages, tolerance is a treasured value that is integrated into the various belief systems themselves. How many times here I have heard the polite phrase, “All roads lead to the same God?”

But still. I ask my questions, listen for the answers and sometimes I hear fears and worries about the “other.” What about the Muslims moving into town who are probably terrorists, I’ve heard people say. Let’s make a law—no newcomers allowed.

Or: How do we keep our beliefs from being tainted by non-Muslim values? We have to be careful.

And then there’s local history. The times of ethnic clashing, of violence. No one wants that again, I hear from both sides. Can we just live in peace? Make lives for ourselves and our kids without fear?

And there’s ISIS, which everyone here—Muslim and Christian—fear. So, how do we do this? How do we live in a world of terrorism and retribution and differences and misunderstandings and really, truly live?

This is where my small and big dream come into play. The small dream? Watch kids play in my backyard. Big dream: It’s a big word: Reconciliation.

It’s a big dream I want for this town with the long name. In small ways and big. We (two American families, five Indonesian families) here at MAF in Palangkaraya like to say call MAF a bridge. Not only do we bridge the supplies with the needs through our float planes, but we desire to bridge church groups that are divided, ethnic groups that fear each other, religions that are on opposite sides of the fence. MAF is looking for ways to build bridges between the groups, provide neutral ground for conversations, for voices, for listening, for grace.

We want to see people of different ethnicities and beliefs not simply living beside each other. We want to see them do life together--forgiving, sharing, eating, trusting, believing, and playing.

But my even bigger dream is that this would happen in other places, too. That's why I feel compelled to tell you my dream. I’ve spent 12 years in this Muslim-majority country learning.  Besides learning language and culture and how to drive on the other side of the world, I’ve learned about different perspectives.

I’ve learned that many of my Muslim friends want to find a good school for their kids, want to feed their families healthy meals, want to do a craft they can sell to pay for a haircut. They want deeper things, too. Love, purpose, faith, acceptance, community, answered prayers. And they give. A great recipe. Time over tea. Gifts when I have a baby. They’ve offered me deeper things, too. Patience, vulnerability, friendship, grace.

They have so much to offer this world.

I see the same things in my Christian friends here—the ones who are from tiny villages, who pray to God like they actually believe He still does miracles. They’re trying to figure out how to pay for their kids’ school, how to take care of their autistic relative, the child orphaned by their deceased brother and wife. They’ve cooked me meals, welcomed me into their lives, shown me their deep faith and their sacrificial generosity.

They have so much to offer this world.

I see a lot of hard things here, and if not here, then on the news. But I’m always looking for the good things. I desperately want to watch stories of life unfold in front of me.

But I’m small, my world is small. There are dishes to wash and dinner to make and kids to keep track of. Who has time to make world peace when you just realized you’re out of eggs?

So, do you see now why I want to watch Muslim and Christians playing in my backyard while I sauté the vegetables? Opening my home and yard is one thing I can do, right here, right now.

Join me in small/big dreams?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Puppy Days of Summer

If I had to write you an essay about my summer, I’d probably start with the word “blur,” the details spreading a hazy sweaty smear across the page.

But then I’d sigh and write, “Then there were the puppies.”

The first puppy came on a day when all the people in my house (including me) were a little bit lonely. We opted for a walk through the neighborhood, blue hopeful sky stretched above our sad feelings, praying on the way for a new friend. We walked by a house where a woman called out to us, asking if my kids wanted to meet her puppy. We also met her kids, two of which are the same ages/gender as two of mine. The friendship has continued into mutual visits, dress-up playing, toy airplane zooming and sharing between two women trying to figure out life, motherhood, and dreams.

Then our next door neighbor’s two female dogs had a combined 14 of them a few weeks ago. Fourteen puppies! There’s something so abundant about so many puppies. You look from one adorable one, to the next, then the next and it’s all just too much. It’s this richness that makes me drop everything every time our neighbor piles them into a laundry basket and carries them to our yard.

So, our summer days have been filled with our neighbor puppies on swings and slides and inside bicycle baskets. Mix in there trying to keep 3-year-old Eric from attacking them with a floppy sword, his giggles bordering on evil. And sprinkle in some hearing Renea wish she and her Indonesian friend

, Esther, could switch places. “She has puppies, Mom!”

I get in there, too, as the puppies conniving sleepy cuteness forces me to slow down and get nothing done while I stare from their furry faces to my daughter’s own curl-ringed one.

Our summer has been filled with other things too. Some things not so fun—sleep-robbing back pain
for Brad, ongoing fatigue for me, separation from family in the States during tough times, operations that aren’t easy to keep going, goodbyes with special friends, and trying (many times unsuccessfully) to respond to needs in the midst of limitations and broken systems.  Some really great—like visitors, new friends, hikes, exploring and discovering new things in town like the donut shop and the water park. And then there are the continued daily lessons that we are tired, but loved; limited, but eternal; small, but incredibly significant.

Summer break ends “early” here. It wrapped up right after the end of Ramadan in July, the local Indonesian kids back to their six-day-a-week schools. I plan to line up our own homeschooling to match theirs, hoping for less screaming over reading lessons this semester. The puppies will get bigger soon, and hopefully our neighbor girl knows that we don’t want these 14 puppies to play in our yard everyday as full-grown dogs. (She plans to sell them soon, anyway.)

These puppies remind me that some things are fleeting—the puppy days of summer—and should be embraced and chased with eagerness in these limited moments. And they remind me of other things—like kids and friends and an abundance of joy even in the midst of the hard stuff. And these, too, should be collected with near greed. Drop everything to gather them in your arms and squeeze them tight.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Fears, Questions, and the Reasons I Write Novels about Borneo

Confession: It’s hard to talk about my novel writing. While it’s a deeply personal and important thing in my life, I’ve struggled through tons of rejections, really bad drafts, and the fear of getting a story, setting and characters all wrong. Judi Lauren was gracious enough to let me share on her blog the latest about a novel I wrote (set in Borneo), the journey that inspired its characters and the passion that makes me keep working at it.

Here's a snippet from what I said about  my novel writing on Judi's blog. 

"Throughout these years of living in Indonesia, I’ve seen and heard about some tragic events, and some incredibly inspiring people, often in the same moment. Indonesia—this land of earthquakes and tsunamis and incredible beauty—both breaks my heart and fills it. Sometimes, though, I don’t see the good in things yet. Fiction allows me to ask the hard questions in my heart through characters’ eyes, and to see how the characters overcome things that seem impossible to overcome—things I’m not even sure if I would have the courage to overcome. I started writing this novel when I was pregnant with my first son, and right around that time a dear (young) Indonesian friend of mine suddenly died." 

Read more here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Lost {and Found} in Space

I walked past the stack of empty, folded boxes on my front porch, out the gate onto my quiet street, tried not to think about how much was left to unpack. My two older kids ran ahead of me. Eric, my youngest, lagged behind. I grabbed his hand, for him and for me. We were looking for people to meet, hoping to find neighbors enjoying the late afternoon not-quite-so-hot temperatures.

This part is hard for me, though I’ve done it my whole life.

I recently moved from my home of 10 years on the teeny, tiny and crowded island of Tarakan to the interior of the nearby vast island of Borneo. Indonesia.  It's much-more-spread-out town of Palangkaraya wraps its way around the mighty Kahayan River (pic above).

Palangkaraya has so much of what I’d forgotten Tarakan has very little of—space. The roads are a bit wider. Many of the houses—even the smallest and most primitive—have yards filled with tall palm trees. I have one of those, too, the biggest yard I’ve ever had, filled with fruit trees and coconut trees and space for the kids to run after each other using badminton rackets as swords. We’ve been given a bigger house, too, which means my kids can make war on one side of the house and I can nap peacefully on the other side.

At first—and still sometimes—all the space felt strange, like I’ve left “real Indonesia” for something not quite as genuine. Where are the tiny “mouse streets” as they’re called here? Where are the cramped markets with friendly people selling cinnamon sticks next to green bananas? And what I really mean is, where are the people who will become our community? My friends? My kids’ friends?

Though my last town of Tarakan was crowded and hot and noisy, I learned to love my Tarakan house on its busy street, and the fact that I could keep track of my little kids no matter where I was in the small house. I could hear my neighbor calling for me from inside my kitchen. Fresh spinach was a short walk down the road, some of our closest friends a walk up the hill.

In some ways, the lack of space was healing for me. I grew up feeling like there was too much space around me at times. Moving from place to place. Lonely first walks to new school after new school. I learned how to bridge the space as quickly as possible. How to be the person I needed to be to befriend whoever would have me.

Then 10 years ago, I moved to a tiny island on the other side of the world from all that I’d worked hard to figure out. At times, the close quarters and painful circumstances made me want to crawl into a closet and hide. (My closets in that house were teeny tiny, too…I probably wouldn’t have fit anyway.) Then you add in having three little kids and my world, at times, could be suffocatingly  tiny. Plus, I stopped moving, which meant I stopped having that natural reset button that could be the good part of moving around.

But I feel like I found myself during those 10 years on the tiny island. 

No, I feel like I was forced to find myself, like all those tiny spaces created by culture stress and team issues and early motherhood stripped me of my regular old ways of living life, and left me with this too-long hidden self. 

And then other hard things happened. And I figured out that when I’m backed into a corner, it makes me want come out (after a brief pity party) fists up, fighting for what I value. For the first time, I fought, using my vulnerability and my courage, which were strangely the same thing.

And then I figured out that the more I showed that self, the closer I got to others…in the best way possible.

But then I moved. To a place with a lot of space.

So, I’m trying to shrink that space as I visit my neighbors. And it’s hard. Though I’ve lived in this country for a decade, I could hardly understand what the young woman I met recently was saying to me. She was mixing the language I know—Indonesian—with her native tongue, which sounds so different in this central part of Borneo, this land of a thousand languages. I forgot the young woman’s name almost as soon as she said it—Mama Something-or-other.

I stumbled over my own name, too. In Tarakan, I was Ibu Rebecca, or just Rebecca, to a few, just Reb. Here I’m supposed to call myself Mama Evan (mother of my firstborn). Though I’m proud to be known as my kids’ mom, losing my lifelong name feels weird. And yet it also feels strangely familiar, like I’ve lost part of who I am even as I try to make a friend.

The kids are better at this than I am. They kicked the soccer ball with her son in the yard, running after the boy’s puppy, eating up all that space with their playing and laughter and easy friend-making.
So, I go back to the lessons I learned in Tarakan, that it’s OK to stumble. It’s even OK to fail. It’s OK to be a burden sometimes.

That though I’m sweaty and confused and stumbling, I have tremendous worth. That I’m often strongest when I’m weakest. I’m often bravest when I’m feeling my smallest. 

That just as what I’ve always known to be true—that I need others—it’s also true that they could use a Rebecca Hopkins in their life, even if they have no idea how to pronounce it.

I ran out of questions to ask my neighbor and moved onto the next neighbor, stepping over cracked concrete to meet another Mama-Something-or-other who I didn’t really understand all that well yet, who certainly doesn’t understand this foreigner who just moved into her neighborhood.

A few minutes later, the kids skipped back to our big house with the big yard, their shadows stretched long behind them. I took a deep breath, trying to enjoy the space I’ve been given. I’ll have more afternoons for walks and talks like these, for friendships that grow from teeny tiny seeds in foreign-to-me soil.  

There’s more space for me, too, for this me that’s growing bigger, that’s getting better at showing up no matter what happens.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

From the other side of things

Fellow Americans,
I’ve spent the last decade living on small islands on the other side of the world from you. I’m called an expatriate, which when I first learned that word felt like some kind of betrayal of my home country. Now I just know that it means I live away from my old home, in my new tropical home, and just happen to be the foreigner, the one who looks different, the one who can barely pass a driving test in my second language.
For 10 years, I’ve lived in cities along with 200,000 Muslims. And since it’s been on islands, we live closely. I can smell the garlic cooking on their small stoves from my own kitchen. I’ve heard the calls to prayer over dinner, have drunk countless cups of tea in homes with Arabic verses scrawling the walls.

I’ve been asked often by Americans if I’m scared living here. Sometimes, yes. But most of my fears revolve around other people’s driving skills and REALLY BIG SPIDERS and mosquitos’ disease-carrying propensities—the same fears my Indonesian friends have. I also have three small children depending on me and motherhood just makes me feel vulnerable. I send my husband into the jungle every day to fly small single-engine airplanes in remote places with no other safe alternatives for travel. And sometimes my fears are about silly things, like when I care way too much about what others think of me.

But I know what you’re asking.

You mean, am I afraid of the head-covered neighbor who shares cookies with my kids when I come for visits? Am I scared of the friend who drove my husband to the hospital on the back of his motorbike when he had dengue fever? Am I nervous about the elderly couple that passes my house on their way to the mosque, holding each others’ hands? Does my kids’ doctor terrify me? What about the lady who stocks her small store with mozzarella cheese at the request of her few American patrons? Do I duck and hide from her?

I don’t have any easy answers to the questions in the news today. I know there are weighty security issues  to consider. And I don’t talk politics here. But one thing I know and love about America is that it’s the home of the brave. 

I yearn for more of that in my blood. I want to live more bravely tomorrow than I did today. To make a difference in someone’s life.  To answer “yes” when it’s my chance to give.

I’ve already got a mixture of America swagger where I’m pretty sure “freedom” is the answer to many problems, along with a big dose of church-learned sacrifice where I know “love” is the answer to them all. And now, after watching my friends here drop whatever they’re doing to welcome me into their home and country, I’ve got a bunch of Asian hospitality running through my veins.

And yet, I want even more. I’m itching to save a life today. To free someone who’s in bondage. To heal another in pain.

Before we get started, it’s good to recognize that helping people is messy and full of risk. We must be wise and thoughtful in how we do it. No one knows that better than this extremely safety-conscious pilot family, in which there are checklists for everything, abort points, weather reports, weight-and-balance formulas, etc. In order to get the job done well, we must have a plan, assess the risks, consider the what-ifs.

But whether it’s flying into the jungle or opening our home to someone different than us, helping people will cost us. To be honest, many of those risks are emotional ones. The mess of other people’s situations will dirty our own hands.(My own mess of cultural mishaps certainly costs this gracious host county of mine.) And yet what it does for our souls? I’ve said many times that Indonesia both breaks my heart and fills it. Living here both wrecks my life and resurrects it.  It teaches me to be brave, and leaves me feeling utterly vulnerable.

Things that cost a lot are worth a lot, too.

I watched this principle lived out again and again in how many of my Indonesian friends live. I've seen Indonesians with almost nothing, generously give all they have for someone else in need. I've witnessed gifts handed to orphans, funds raised for earthquake victims,  prayers whispered for the hurting. All done by those who check a different religion box than I do.

The bravest things I do here are small, coming from a very personal place, with my small children in tow. Are you a friend who gets terribly nauseous, too, when you’re pregnant? I’ll bring you my favorite morning sickness snack—popcorn made on my stovetop. Are you lonely in motherhood, wondering if you yelled too much at your kids today? I’ll meet you under the mango tree to tell you I did the same, too. Is your child sick and you’re sure you’re about to lose the only thing that matters to you? Call me and I’ll sit by the hospital bed and plead with a God I’m learning to trust for both your child and mine. I know you'd do the same for me. 

Want to be truly American today? Whatever you do, whatever you believe, be brave. Risk what you fear losing to gain what no one can ever take away from you.

"Fear is such a powerful emotion for humans that when we allow it to take us over, it drives compassion right out of our hearts." Thomas Aquinas

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The wrong/right day

I knew the runway we were going into was the shortest and one of the most difficult strips in north Borneo. But when, on short final, I could make it disappear out the cockpit window behind my thumb, I grabbed the seat tight.

Brad  flew the plane perfectly onto the runway and brought it to a stop halfway down the dirt strip. We stepped out into the calm, sunny morning, surrounded by gorgeous jungle and mountains. Here we were, listening to birds chirp and bees buzz around our heads.
But I was a mess.

Brad does these kinds of flights all the time. And most days while I’m home on this small island breaking up fights over Legos, I don’t even think about what it must be like to fly single-engine planes into tight valleys in uncontrolled airspace over unforgiving jungles.

But that recent day that I got to fly with Brad, I couldn’t help but think how everything can go so wrong.
Actually, the reason we went into that strip on that day was for Brad to show me where he’d had one of his hardest days of flying last year when he was called for a Med-evac flight. And not just a hard day of flying. His airplane broke, so then Brad had to hike to a remote village of four rustic homes, where he spent the night, to wake up the next day and hike over a mountain ridge to get to a village where another MAF plane could pick him up. It was a long, lonely night, followed by a long, lonely hike, followed by a long, but not-so-lonely few months.

I’ll spare you the technical details of what happened that day, but this much is true.
Everything went wrong that day. And everything went right.

As Brad and I walked along the airstrip, he relived with me some of that hard day. But not just the hard stuff. He told me about the grace stuff. The words, Brad believed, God spoke in his heart. The thankfulness Brad spoke, out loud, to God. He knew immediately that that day was a beginning of many good things. And eventually, when we had some perspective, we discovered it was an ending—a healing—to many hard things, too.
Let me just tell you, there have been some wrong, hard things in these years I’ve spent in Indonesia. When you live and work among so many broken systems, it’s hard to ever feel like anything can be made right—including the stuff in my own heart. And honestly, I have a hard time separating out the things that happen to others from the toll it takes on me and my family. This is our home. My kids have grown up here. My husband risks his life here. So much is at stake for us, personally. This country, its people, its cultures, they fill my heart. But so many times, they also break it.

So, when a dear friend dies in a completely preventable accident or a Med-evac patient ends up not making it, sometimes it can feel like the only thing we can count on is that things will go wrong.
There have been moments when most of what I’ve heard in my mind were doubts and disappointments, lies and fears. And some of the hardest things have happened recently—just these past couple of years when you’d think all these years of being here would provide some kind of buffer. But time and experience don’t take away all the questions I’ve had about the wrong in this world. Sometimes they just take away the naïve optimism that things can actually get better…and that we can make a difference.

Yet, I see now, that though sometimes everything goes wrong…everything is also going right. Often in the same moment.
I’d call that grace.

Sometimes the best things come from the hardest moments. Sometimes the depth we so wish for in our lives, in our seeking of God, in our relationships with others come when we have to sink into darkness for a while.

Sometimes the wholeness and healing we seek comes through brokenness.

A couple years ago, when I was particularly burned out, I started searching for the later parts of stories. I looked into the lives of people who I’d seen go through something completely hopeless—and usually preventable—and looking for how they’d survived, how they’d grown, how they’d made life happen again.
I saw a woman who’d endured being abused by her husband, growing a deep compassion for those who suffer. I saw how a death in a family can be the start of a richer, more God-seeking life for those who remained. I saw how a girl with seizures and brain issues that seemed to have no cure become a strong young woman, and how she carried building supplies an MAF plane brought so she could help build a tiny jungle church.  I saw how a friend’s repeated miscarriages paved the way for a choice to adopt.
I see myself, more fragile than ever, finally knowing my valuable worth.
You must know, that some of the stories aren’t over yet. The hope still seems very distant in those lives. And  honestly, some days I still doubt in my own place, my own purpose in this midst of all this. But I can say, that my once very-small-and-once-shrinking-faith is growing again.
After some recent hard days in my life, I can confidently say that good—really big good—can come out of the worst kind of bad. And though I wish there would never have to be suffering ever, there’s something amazing about the goodness, hope, heart change that can come out of pain and loss. Beauty is at its most stunning when it rises from the ashes.

Looking back, that wrong/right day was also the worst/best day of my year. And this hard/good life is also the one I’m both fighting for/surrendering every day I’m here. And this growing/deepening faith I have now has come about in the vulnerability/hope of life here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Are you saying good-bye, too?

I hand over my gift and fumble at the words.  And my friend looks at me, her face stoic, almost nonchalant and it’s hard to know if I’m even doing this right.

I should be better at this. How many times have I said “good-bye” over the years? There were the zillions of moves I made as both a kid and an adult. And overseas, people come and go and good-byes are anticipated or very sudden. But they happen all the time.

I’m moving to another part of Borneo in a few weeks. And I’m saying goodbye a lot like I’ve lived life here over the years…sitting on the floor of a friend’s house, bouncing back and forth between awkward small talk and serious heart stuff, my kids fighting for a space on my lap, knocking over drinks of glasses of hot tea onto the splintered wooden planked floor, a light morning rain tapping on the metal roof.

Throughout ten years of these types of visits with friends, I always feel both way out of my comfort zone and totally in my element.

I guess you could say the same thing about my relationship with moving. Somehow I feel very at home with packing up and starting over. And somehow it still makes me feel very lost every time I do it.

I wish I could say there is more “good” in all my “good-byes” so far here. But just like daily life here, they’re a bit messy, confusing and almost always sweaty. I go, intending to say the right words of thanks, and hope for some kind of satisfying closure, but usually it all still feels like we’re in the middle of something.  Maybe the friend is still in a crisis and I’m not really sure if it’ll all end up OK. Or I’m still learning how to love in this culture, this foreign language, but I’m pretty sure I’ve just left a long list of misunderstandings and offenses.  Then there’s the lack of emotion shown to me, the stoicism that makes me wonder if any of this even matters. If I matter to them.

I bet I look stoic sometimes, too. But really, I’m just distracted…by my kids hiding in my shoulder so they don’t have to have their picture taken again, or the mosque’s call to prayer, or my own desire to just have the good-bye over with so I can go home and hide, too.

Sometimes I get a text later with more honest feelings, and that should feel better. But that just makes me sad, too.

I know it’s going to be OK. The next place is really exciting and the people are great and the work there is amazing and I need to just get there and move forward and plant roots and a bunch of other clichés that do actually work.

But still… right now, I’m in that “lost” period. And I’m just wondering if anyone else out there is here with me?

One small decision helped me this week. I plan to take a branch off my plumeria tree—the one Brad gave me for a birthday a few years ago—take it on the MAF plane ride and then plant it in my next home. I thought it would be silly and a bit indulgent especially when there are plumeria trees there, too. But then I remembered how my mom would pack up all her plants and stick them in the back of our station wagon to head to the next Army post.  Like she knew, too, that taking some living things from her last home would help her figure out life in the next one.

Sometimes I just need a reminder that life doesn’t end just because your time in that last place does.

And then there are the needs. I set a date for myself when I’d force myself to pull out of everything. The orphanage. The hospital visits for the patients Brad brings in. The visit to a neighbor in need. And then I keep extending it. And then moving it up. Can’t decide if it’s better to put it off until I’m neck-deep in boxes and still dashing off for one more visit, or better just ripping off the bandaid. Both sound bad.

And then there are my fears. There are people coming after us who will never know me here in this place, on this team, a family member here. And what happens to this place I had here in this place? It’s small, I know. I’m small. The island is small, too. But me here in this place for this time mattered to me. All the hurts and fears and adventure and growth and friendships and faith and pregnancies and flights and prayers and disappointments and doubts and grace—they all happened to me here. What happens to all that?

I know. Some of it will go with me. It changed me, after all, broke me to pieces, then healed into something new.

And some of the stuff will stay. This part is the hardest to believe, but in the off-chance that you’re going through a good-bye or a bad-bye, too, I’ll say it anyway so that maybe we can help each other believe true, good things. This is what I am trying to believe:  I, here at this time, changed something here, maybe even someone. And hopefully, in some good ways.

One of my childhood tricks for coping with moves was to sagely remind myself that every tear-filled good-bye started with a scared, but hope-filled hello and many hellos end up in teary good-byes. That sounds like a lot of tears. But the point was, those good-byes have to happen so the next hellos can happen so the next goodbyes happen and I’m starting to wonder how I ever found this fact comforting.


It seems I’m not in the mood tonight for my own pep talks. So, I’ll just finish by saying this, is there anyone else out there saying goodbye, too? OK. I thought so. Then, let’s be a little bit lost in all the good-byes and hellos together. 

photo credit: first and third photos, Kelly Hewes

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