Apr 20, 2011

The revolving door

After almost 6 years of living in the D.R., I can confirm that one of the most painful parts of being a missionary is the revolving door. That ever spinning revolving door.

It ushers people in - people that you learn to struggle with and thru,

that become a part of your daily life: your community,

that love your children,

people that sometimes drive you bonkers, annoy you, grate you, sharpen you . . . and I won't include a photo for that one.

Whether you want to or not, when you live in a community of believers, you HAVE to LOVE others- because well, you live with them, work with them, worship with them, fellowship with them, carpool with them -  because if you don't love them, your whole testimony of being a christian is blown out of the water. Most of the time, the love part happens naturally, but sometimes, even with those you would naturally gravitate towards, it takes work. Either way, the love is there, even with it's jagged edges and smooth entertwiney - ness.  At least this is how I feel about it.  I've been commanded to love, with all of its pokey parts which sometimes leave a mark.

AND THEN, after all that, the revolving door of ministry ushers them out - just like that - gone from here.

Yes, of course, friendships continue to flourish from afar, but it is different. The apartness is painful, even though the moving on is a directive of the Lord.  The pattern of nice to meet you/I adore you/your leaving/repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Uggggg. Shakespeare nailed it with the "parting is such sweet sorrow" bit.

I think Dr. Seuss said it best when he said, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."  Yes, I'm smiling . . . . but it still hurts - the backside of that door.  However, it has been SUCH A JOY to know these AMAZINGLY AWESOME people whose ultimate desire has been to serve and glorify the Lord - and I shutter to think of my life had the revolving door not spit one of us out at the other - in love, of course.

I know this probably won't make sense to many people who have not experienced the mission field, or ministries in general, and that's okay.  There is a certain amount of transiency, which can be difficult when you believe you have been commanded to sit and stay . . . . for now.

Okay, I think this might be my most melancholy post EVER - I wouldn't expect to see to many more like this, but every once in a while my inner Eeyore comes out.  I feel better now.  Thanks for listening.

P.S.  Just so you know, I realize that the "revolving door" is really the hand of God at work.  I understand His timing is perfect, and that He brings specific groups together at certain times to accomplish His work.  And even as I sit here, I know that there are more AMAZINGLY AWESOME people in my midst whom I have yet to connect with on a deeper level that experience the same sting of frequent departures that I do.


  1. i get it!! the revolving door stinks! i am currently sad that my revolution through the door is coming up...boo! and yet yea....ah the paradox that is missions :)

  2. Well said Rachel!! This is what I have been feeling lately... Eventhough I haven't been in the ministry for that long I have been hurting to have to say goodbye to some people at the end of this year. Growing up in a country where missionaries come and go has helped a little but for some reason everytime this happens it hurts pretty bad!!

  3. Very well put Rachel.....the revolving door of watching people leave is painful and yet we are so much better off for God having put those people in our lives. I think what is really hard is when the Lord leads others away and we're still staying, wondering, when is it "my" time. At a time when I think I'll soon be close again to my very best friend, we end up just as far away. Having to trust and know that He is in control can be so much easier said than done but is a necessity. Prayers are with you my friend.

  4. Rachel you put like it is. and my door is revolving again too. i have been on both sides. i love you. and will pray for you.

  5. Being the resident Eeyore - I can feel every bit of your sorrow.

    I have become increasingly amazed of the incredible work God does through others placed in our lives - even if for just a short time. It is so sweet to have such intimate connections with others in the body, but the pain of seeing them go...

    Beautifully put, Rachel. We still ache to have you close, but are so thankful you and Jonathan are in God's hands and have handed your lives over to His plan.

  6. I really want that revolving door to revolve me right back to the past sometimes...but reality reminds me that it's the past cause it passed. Doesn't mean the future isn't bringing more dear friends into my life (and me into theirs). Still, it stings. My friend David Wier once preached that "pain tells us we're still alive". Well, the sting of the revolving door tells us we're still loving. If we stop feeling that, we're doing something wrong.

    Love and miss you guys!


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