Each retreat presents warm welcomes as the volunteers gather for the first time to meet one another and learn how they will have the opportunity to serve together at the retreat location. We have a joyous welcome again when, a few days later, the attendees finally arrive and we begin the work of love that called us here in the first place.
But then come the inevitable goodbyes. Just 72 short hours after our attendees arrive, after we’ve shared laughter and tears and often been deeply vulnerable with one another, it is time to say goodbye.
And saying goodbye is hard.
Gratefully, just as we spread out our hellos, we spread out our goodbyes. Though it is hard to say goodbye to the Global Women it would be almost too painful to immediately hop a plane to the states and jump back into life as we know it. So we linger. And we talk. And we reflect. And we do it together.
The last days provide an opportunity to tour a bit and see what the area we’ve been serving in is like, but these last days are about so much more than that. They are about making time to feel feelings that may have been too deep for words in the midst of the retreat. They are about honoring the need for margin – creating gaps between this experience and the next. They are about sitting with the few people who really get it because they were there, too. It’s about taking time to share stories with one another.
Though we are often tired and ready to get home to our families, our comfortable routines, and our beds, we linger. And it is good – because saying goodbye well takes time.
Will you join us in prayer as we board planes tomorrow and make the long journey home? Will you consider if perhaps you, too, might be called to come into the joyous hellos and hard goodbyes of serving Global Women around the world?