Good-bye again…

Good-bye again…

Transparency alert: 

Do not read ANY of this post,
unless you commit to read ALL of this post… No skimming!

OK… you agreed… let’s go.



Strong Words

Yesterday, for a short while, I hated being in France and resented our call to this country.

These are strong words, I know, but you need to take them with a grain of salt and understand the context. They are the fruit of a tough good-bye.

This year, my mom will celebrate her 70th birthday. 70… How did that happen and where did the time go?  Only yesterday she was working part time at the bank, had an “afro-perm” (it was the 1970’s… go easy) and we’d spend time at my grandparents’ after school until her return from work.



Loss & Distance

Now, years later,… my dad has passed, her parents have passed, all of my grandfather’s siblings have passed and my brother lives some 20+ hours away from her. Thankfully she has a sister in Moncton and another in Halifax. For most of my married life, we’d been the “close” kids/grandkids (simply in terms of geography)… at only a 1.5-2h drive away. In January 2015, however that changed and the presence of an ocean between us suddenly knocked us from “geographically closest” position.

At the time, I think she felt the coming loss more than we did. We were buoyed by adrenaline and the anticipation of a new life in France. How romantic n’est-ce pas(In the “leave & cleave” concept… “cleaving” is always more romantic than “leaving”, but one cannot take place without the other.)

Though we left mom back in Canada in 2015… realizing the importance of what we’d left behind would be felt more and more acutely in the months since then. Subtly, slowly, but most definitely!

Then she arrived in France.


ReunitedAngles-sur-l'Anglin, France, l'Anglin,

Our 5-seat car wouldn’t allow all 6 of us to do much sightseeing together, nor would our budget really. But that was OK, said she, “I’m coming to see you guys.”

We managed to see a few sights, broken up into smaller groups of 2-5, depending on the trip. More often than not I was the chauffeur (going out of town), and more often than before I found my hand in hers (or was it hers in mine?) or my arm draped around her neck.

We saw more than she expected, yet her favorite memory was not the chateaux, the pastries or the weather; it was the kids acting the fool in the back-seat of the car; singing, laughing & exchanging inside jokes & pointed jabs.

How do you capture that memory with a camera? You can’t. It has to be carried in the heart.


Paris-boundsaying goodbye to Paris, missions, Garnier opera, paris

All good things must come to an end and the 2+ weeks of her visit was no different. We drove to Paris Thursday so as to see a couple of sights (how can you be in France & NOT see Paris?) and to avoid the stress & fatigue of an early morning departure & 4hr drive to the airport on departure day.

  • Together we discovered La Madeleine for the first time.
  • I shared with her my favorite place in Paris, the Opéra Garnier where we listened to an amazing busker.
  • We got perfumed up at the sample-counter in Galleries Lafayette (where we saw a 25,000€ cell phone – $28,5000 USD / $36,800 CDN – “Uhhh….maybe next time thanks!”)
  • We ate supper at the Entracte Opéra restaurant… one of those stereotypical Parisian restaurants where all chairs face outward (to maximize your people-watching potential) and where passersby on the sidewalk bustle hurriedly within a foot of your dinner!
  • We took the metro to Notre-Dame, passed by the bouquinistes and strolled along the quais back to the Louvre… hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm or arm-draped-on-shoulder.
  • and…. (drumroll please)… she did that HIP-thing… a pic of herself putting her finger on the tip of the Louvre’s glass pyramid!  She rocks!

The one thing that never came up in conversation during all that though, was the following day… D-Day… departure-day, each one knowing that to do so would be to turn on a tap of tears which we’d eventually try to explain away with broken voice. Not sure if that was out of pride or just out of wanting to enjoy the day to the most.


The inevitable

Oh… inevitable did happen, you can be sure: Shortly after check-in yesterday morning and just before the departure through security, between terminal 2A & 2C.  Couldn’t barely get the first word of good-bye out but that it begun… absolutely on cue.

Fortunately (or not) it was reasonably short-lived as we attempted to regain some composure and so that she could get through security without looking like the Wreck of the Hesperus. Then began my drive… no radio, no news, no CD, no podcast… nothing. Silence is always better for truly feeling & experiencing one’s emotions, rather than trying to bury them – don’t you find?

Why did I have to say good bye to my mom yesterday?

Why did Liz & the kids have to say goodbye on Thursday?

Because of the French:
God’s love for them and His call on our life, for now, to work among them.


(dis)Comfort Zone

In missions, we often reference the need to & desire to “get out of our comfort zone”.  We use that notion somewhat cavalierly… romantically, but today is a good example of the out in “out of your comfort zone”.  We may be IN God’s will, but we are definitely OUT of our comfort zone… and yesterday there was no romance. It was just plain, missions, saying goodbye, france

So, do you see why I asked you to take my opening comments with a grain of salt & why I issued a transparency alert?

Answering God’s call to France took the near kids/grandkids” and made them the far kids/grandkids”… and when that happens, 2 weeks is just not enough. Distance truly does make the heart grow fonder…especially when it comes to your mom / gramma!

Love you mom… gramma!

We’ll be OK. We will. We’re not the first to experience this and we certainly won’t be the last. I dare say, with my limited experience, that it’s part of the deal… It comes with the territory that is mid-long term missions.

We love France.
We cherish God’s call.

But still… now you know how to pray for us specifically this week.
We appreciate it.



20 responses

  1. Wow! What a great tribute… Not only to your wonderful mother, but to the call and work of God you’re immersed in.

    It reminds me of the words of Jesus, “Behold my mother and my brothers.”

    Many blessings to you all as you answer the call, walk by faith and AIM LONG!

    • Thanks Bro! Appreciate you following & praying. It makes a difference. Funny thing is (not sure funny is the right word)… I didn’t even realize it was to be Mothers’ Day back home… (it’s not until May 29th here). God bless you!

  2. Wonderful post that I anticipate experiencing all over again, unfortunately. 😦 Our house is always so melancholy after gram (my mom) leaves. I can imagine what you’re feeling as I’ve had the same yearly experience for the past 17 years. Not cool.

    I’m going to do my level best to find a vehicle that will seat at least six for when my mom comes to visit. 🙂

    Have a blessed week!


    • Bro… definitely look for a 6-seater! 🙂
      Can’t imagine (yet) doing it for that long a time. Lord help us! 🙂
      Appreciate you folks & looking forward to meeting on THIS side!

  3. 😢 this made me teary eyed for you and shayne and I will pray for you all..So glad u had a wonderful 2 weeks with your mom! 😊

    • Ang… you guys are special. Thanks for taking the time to leave a note with your thoughts… it means a lot to know that you guys have our back!

  4. I know how it feels… when my brother and his family moved to Texas 3 years ago… and came back to visit us during one week few days before last christmas… then flew back to Texas again… It was difficult for me but I also could see the pain in my parents’ and my brother’s eyes… The thing that encouraged me was to think that it won’t last. One day we’ll be together FOR-E-VER ! I’m thinking a lot of you, and praying hard for you, your family and your mom. God will give you strength, peace and joy again. lots of love to you all from us

    • Héla Anne!!! Merci de ton mot qui m’encourage. Eh oui… j’avais oublié que ton frère était loin. Effectivement, vous savez bien de quoi il s’agit. Même Liz en avait un peu plus l’habitude (pas que ça devient forcément plus facile mais bon…) c’était du nouveau pour moi – et puis l’age qui avance accentue la chose aussi. En tous cas, merci de ton encouragement!! Vivement le jour où on pourra se revoir les deux familles! 🙂

  5. Good post bro. Long. Distance does make things hard. When I married Zachary and moved to Texas away from my family it was hard but gradually it got easier. Thank God for Skype and Kakao to talk to family in the States and then overseas. Thankful for people who sacrifice and GO and those who answer the call. Praying for you all and France.

    Michaela Bowles

    • It’s true what you say about Skype & Technology. The first time I was in Europe for two years (90-92) email & internet were not available yet… phone calls were few & far between & very expensive. Technology, without a doubt, makes it much easier! Blessings to you folks in your own preparations & thank you for your encouragement!

  6. In 1990 I left my country to go to bible school in Sweden. My four children an were used to visit my parent every week and now I took them away. The journey was about 11 hours so we only met a few times a year for the next five years. It was tough but I was alone with them and I had heard a calling for that bible school and I am very grateful I did go. I got prepared for tough things further on

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Maria. Isn’t it true that though we know we are doing what God wants us to do, it helps us get through the difficult moments… but there are still those difficult moments. Thank the Lord he sustains us during those times!

  7. This post really, really touched me. I love the fact you are so incredibly close to your mom. And although, I’m a Roman Catholic and have a different ideology than you, I just love your writings. I’m looking forward to your future posts!!!

    • Oh Catherine! Thanks so much for your comment and for visiting me over on this side of the blogosphere! 🙂 I didn’t grow up in this context either (although I’m glad I’m here now), so I can appreciate that not only does God invite each of us to draw close to Himself, we’re all at different points on a very personal & individual spiritual journey. 🙂

      Thanks for your kind words! Here’s to enjoying the blogosphere together!

    • Thank you Gaston, I appreciate that. No doubt you can relate a little, living away from NB. If you have any “survival tips” let me know. 🙂

  8. Pingback: Back in Canada « AIM Long

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