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Perspective

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Tears spilled from my eyes as I watched our 19-year-old daughter ascend the airport escalator and out of my view. I could not help but picture her as she was 18 years earlier, with curls bouncing as she independently shuffled down the hallway of our then-home. How could that much time have passed? Watching her go out of view, I knew our family dynamic would never be quite the same.

The next day, we again went to the airport, this time to bid farewell to the Greenfield family. We had spent many happy moments with each other and watched our kids grow up together. As they moved toward the next phase of their lives, I knew life would never return to what it once was.

These transitions have significantly impacted our lives over the past couple of months. Hannah’s absence has left us feeling a bit empty. I still occasionally forget and set the table for six places. I miss our mother-daughter talks, seeing her bright smile, and even her bantering with her siblings. I wished I could have been with her to go shopping for her school stuff and get her settled in her dorm room. Whenever I think about these losses, I tear up.

The Greenfields’ departure also left empty spaces in our lives. I cannot help but think back with fond memories of our children conspiring to spend Sabbath evenings together—adults chatting on the kitchen floor after making smoothies and popcorn, calling Cara to ask about some medical situation or sharing snake pictures with Daniel.

It can be easy to get absorbed in what we are missing. I found myself feeling sorry for my losses, especially at first. However, when I think about Hannah’s desire to follow and serve God, which led to her decision to return to the States for school, I know I would not want it any different. When I think of the incredible love and support from family and friends to get her settled at school, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude. When I think of the way God opened wonderful doors of opportunity for the Greenfield family, I would not wish them to miss the blessings God gave them.

Much of our happiness is based upon what we choose to focus. This year has been difficult for many people, and I know the losses are real. But if you find yourself absorbed with what you are missing, I challenge you to look for the spaces where you see God’s hand at work. Within every trial, we can find a special blessing.

Join us as we go forward with joy and thanksgiving into the next phase of life, and let us see how God continues to work for His Kingdom’s growth!

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