Well, he’s gone. And we got a short but excited email from Santiago this afternoon telling us he’s safe and sound in the Missionary Training Center in Santiago, where he’ll spend the next 6 weeks learning to speak Spanish. They’ll be immersed in Spanish all day every day until they come out speaking it.
We had a few minutes together as a family just before I took this picture of Aaron heading through security. For several minutes we huddled in a family group hug and cried together, quietly, tears streaming unashamedly down each of our cheeks, feeling the love of our complete family for one last time. It was hard. Heart-wrenching. I wanted the clock to freeze, but it would not. Then Aaron had to walk away from us, and we had to stay behind a thin black cordoned barrier, as if it could separate our love from him. It could not. We wept and waved until he disappeared up the escalator. (John got on his hands and knees to watch him to the very top.)
It occurred to me then that this is a feeling we must learn and experience so we know the pain of separation and the joy of being re-united. If we didn’t feel the pain, we might not work at keeping our families together. That joy is worth every imaginable effort.
Aaron is gone from us now, but with us in heart and spirit. If you live in Santiago, I hope he’ll knock on your door someday. I promise you if you listen to what he has to say, it will change your life in beautiful and amazing ways. Please invite him in.