“Please remember us.”
I cannot count the good-byes I have shared in the last three years. Whether dear friends leaving after some time, or new friends leaving after a week, it is another part of the “normal” of life overseas. Over time, it becomes a choice to continue saying “hello,” when you know you will eventually say, “good-bye.” Or, as we say more often, “fare well.”
As our time has come to say farewell to a country that has become our home, and an organization that we have grown to be a part of, I see another side of the process.
When I first left my home country to come to Kenya, I remember saying “see you later” – goodbye seemed all too final.
Here, I have found each person saying the same things. Fare well, May God richly bless you, but most of all we hear this plea-
Please, remember us. Please, don’t forget us.
It brings new meaning to those who reassure us that we will not be forgotten. What is it about this place that has brought these words to be the ones that are spoken last during transition? What is it about memory that people long for here?
Or maybe we all long for it – but are not as willing to admit it? Is it why social networking has become an integral part of society? I can’t imagine asking someone this as they leave a season of my life –
Please – don’t forget me. Please, remember me.
But isn’t it what we are feeling as they go? Isn’t the ache partially a fear that we WILL be forgotten? Not forgotten from memory, but forgotten from the heart?
Where else have these words resonated before?
Where else but the bread and the wine?
Of course, we will remember you, Missions of Hope. Of course we will remember you, Kenya. Our stories joined here – we have grown up within your boundaries. The friends we have made and stories we have shared have all left their mark and become part of our fabric.
I remember the first time I stepped into the streets of Mathare. I remember visiting a home – I remember the laughter of the children. I remember faces, I remember. And after returning home – I remembered. With joy, with fullness, and with the constant ache to return. It faded a bit, until I received the opportunity to return.
Now, I leave again -with a deeper understanding of what it means to be here. Many joyful memories have filled my heart, amidst lines drawn by the carefully excavated areas that have taught me the ways to go – that have taught me the importance of always bowing low. Both will be remembered, because they are more than an experience. Here, I learned a new way to live.
And isn’t that what His words are to lead us to as well? Not simply remembering an action – remembering an event. But remembering His life, His death, His resurrection – remembering that we have learned a new to live?