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The next twist in the track
brought me to the big hill
right before the giant fall. I
found myself taking things
for granted. As strange as
it sounds, this was actually
a good thing! I had finally
stopped focusing so much
on mentally preparing for
the impending departure.

Having formed some
kind of routine, I was
comfortable. I was just
living day to day in what
was my current state of
“normal” (visiting churches, schooling, family
time, etc.).

A month and a half out from our departure
came the first farewells. The descent down the
giant hill on the rollercoaster was upon me. I
had faced this feeling before and I knew it by
name—Grief. On one of the last Sundays at
my home church, I sat alone in my pew. At
least that was how I felt. I was surrounded
by people, yet felt like no one knew the pain
I was struggling with, as though there was
an elephant on my back that no one could
see. It was a bittersweet time. I was trying to
take it all in, savor every moment, but I was
overwhelmed with the thought of it coming
to an end. For some reason, the pain seemed
more unbearable this second time around. I
think we all had a new understanding of just
how long four years can feel and just how hard
it is to be apart for that long.

As we arrived back in Uruguay, getting back
into our daily routines, I kept waiting to reach
the bottom of the hill, for that “sigh of relief ”
to come. In my mind, I thought that when I
reached Uruguay, I would feel a sense of relief.

Yes, it was hard to leave, but now I would be back
in my own house, ready to get back into a stable
routine of life. Instead, it was as though that
“sigh of relief ” was a long, deep breath that I was
exhaling ever so slowly over a matter of weeks.

Just as a rollercoaster ride is filled with various
emotions from every hill and turn, so is the
emotional rollercoaster ride of furlough. We
experience excitement and anticipation, joy
and laughter, fear and sadness, ups and downs,
and twists and turns. Sometimes it is hard to
know if we love it or hate it, if we want to go
around again or simply want to get off and
walk away. Yet when the time comes, we will
gladly climb aboard the rollercoaster once
more, knowing that our labour is not in vain in
the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58). W