My son asked me to order him a yearbook from his school here. He said he wanted to show me his friends, and that he would miss them.
For the children and me, this time in the States has often seemed separate from our regular life, which is now on hold. I haven't learned to use any of the features of the cellphone I have here because it's not my real cellphone. The kids keep talking about their "real school." They have both mentioned not wanting to leave things at school in case they have to leave suddenly. All three of us lost things that mattered to us in our hasty departure from Haiti. But things aren't what really matter. A counselor told me I needed to get involved in service somehow, and I didn't want to because it would mean getting attached to more people I'd just have to leave.
And yet life does go on. We have become attached here, in spite of ourselves, and there are people we will miss. It turns out that this parenthetical time is part of our real life, too.
I heard a series of sermons a few years ago about Christian virtues, and one of them focused on detachment. Christians, we were told, needed to be detached from the things of this world, ready to let go of them in a moment. And, the preacher added, from people.
I understand the idea of holding possessions loosely. No possession is worth anything in the face of the survival of my family. I hug them and feel that everything is all right because I didn't lose them.
But I don't really believe we are intended to be detached from other people. I believe God made us to be attached to one another, to care for one another deeply. Our love for God, Jesus said, should be more important to us than our love for our fellow human beings, but we are also told constantly to love one another.
It would be easier not to love other people. Loving people hurts. I don't want to leave anyone else or lose anyone else. I don't want that for my kids, either. We've all said enough goodbyes already.
But there are more to come.
2 hours ago