Preparing to leave has been so different this time. Last time we thought we were putting our lives on hold to return in nine months, and resume them where we had left them. We said few good-byes. This time, we know it will be much longer—there will be no resuming this life—and there are a significant number of good-byes that must be said.
The good-byes began with a banjo, a stand-up bass and an assortment of guitars. Before talking price, I interviewed those who might take over care and playing of these instruments, asking myself if I was comfortable with who they were and how they played. I didn’t want them to go to just anyone, nor I did want them to end up in a guitar museum like the one I saw at a Martin Guitar Factory. Their museum held hundreds of beautiful guitars, played once, and put on display. I can’t tell you how sad it made me walking around that room, looking at those instruments, knowing they would never be played.
A song by Greg Whitfield tells it from the guitar’s point of view:
That all I ever wanted were two hands upon my strings Somebody who knew just enough to make my rosewood sing My life is only measured by the pleasure that I bring to the one who has his hands are on the strings ---Martin’s Song [watch Greg Whitfield's youtube video]
Before leaving for Ghana, I knew I had to release these instruments to be played. I am at peace (really), but it was still a challenge to hand over the last one and watch its new owner drive away, knowing I would not play that guitar again, nor know the new songs that she would learn. I am thankful the friends we say good-bye to this time will not be so final.
Lily Tomlin once said “Forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better past.” I wonder if this is what Jesus meant when he spoke about forgiveness and used the word retained: “if you retain the sins of any, they are retained,” as in retaining the hope of a better past instead of living into a better future.
Saying good-byes is an important step in preparing us to live into a new future.
We were meeting with one of our newest ministry partners who is significantly involved in leadership of some of the local non-profits here in Georgetown. He said “All those years at IBM I thought I was building a career, but really, I was just being trained for what I’m doing now.” Suzanne and I completely understand that sentiment, for it seems everything that has come before has been preparing us for what comes next, for what we feel God calling us to do. “The two most important days in your life,” Mark Twain said, “are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” We know this is why we were created, and are excited about living what is next.
We invite you to partner with us in this ministry.
When you make a gift of any kind to our ministry through The Mission Society before December 31, you will be investing in us and our ministry with the future leaders of West Africa, and receive a charitable tax deduction on your 2013 tax return.Peace, Steve & Suzanne Buchele