Hellos and Goodbyes

On this island, where sundresses and board shorts clothe sunkissed skin, transience is the norm. Transplanted mainlanders will tell you that when they first move out here the guestbook pages are written in year round, but as time passes, their pages are scarcely opened.

Military folk move in, and three or so years later, move out.

Young couples move because of a job promotion or a transfer, but few stay.

We’ve said goodbye to dear friends a couple years ago, and every year or so the teens have become accustomed to praying for leaders who are PCSing or moving back to the mainland.

Because of the transience and distance from hometowns and relatives, the ones who plan to stay awhile quickly form a family.

It’s necessary for survival.

Older aunties and uncles adopt younger families and care for their kids like grandparents. Friends bring Gatorade and Seven Up to your doorstep when your entire family is stricken with the stomach flu. Your friends, aka your kids’ aunties, watch little ones like a sister might if you lived in the same place. Family dinners are weekly. When things get rough, schedules are cleared and noodles boiled to break bread over broken spirits and depleted hearts. Our kids are BFFs

This has been our community.

And this spring, many of our community members are moving. The Sklars, and then the Allards. The Englands welcome their new baby (the HELLO in our little title here) any day now and move in the summer. Our army friends live in the tension of “This year? Next year? Who knows! Land.”

Some are staying, some are going.

The Spirit of God is present and strong.

A new church is beginning.

Community will continue because Jesus says to wash each other’s feet.

Love is profound like that.

And so while tears flow as goodbyes are said, we welcome new life and invite the Spirit of God to form community as only the One who created community in the first place can…

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