Anne’s 8th Birthday
When planning your birthday, it is quick and easy to think of your favorite ten people you would like to invite. That is, for most people. It can be a little more challenging for a kid growing up in constant change. I sat down with Anne to begin her birthday party invitation list. It was easy to come up with three friends and then when it took some thought on her part, the conversation went something like this:
“Is ____ in town?”
“No, she is on furlough in the states.”
“Oh, ya. Well, I really want to invite ____ but she is gone to the states.”
“No she’s back already. Remember, we had her family over for dinner last week?”
“Ya! That’s right!”
“How about _____? You had her over last year.”
At this point my heart just sank. Anne has not really yet known what a good sustained friendship looks and feels like. Some of it is due to our life as we transition a lot. I was relieved to see she didn’t seem disappointed. She is used to this coming and going and having to flow with the changes around her. Once again I felt the pain in the disconnect that we often feel in our relationships. Our family and friends in the states are an ocean away. Our friends we have made here are meaningful but can change frequently. Our Indonesian friendships aren’t quite as close as we would really like them to be. We can often feel like the missing puzzle piece that’s not in its box.
On the day of sending the invitations, I prayed that the Lord will show Himself in a wonderful and personal way to Anne; that as she grows in Him she will sense His friendship and how near He is to her, closer than any earthly friend. I praise God that even though we sense some sacrifice in this area of friendships, our family has drawn tightly together. We enjoy being together. The children are thrilled when daddy is home on weekends. They play best with one another and are each other’s best friends. We have a bond that I’m not sure we would have if we hadn’t taken this path in life.
The party itself was a lot of fun and we could tell that Anne really enjoyed it. At the end of the party a friend thanked Anne and greeted her goodbye with a hug. Adelaide wondered about the hug and asked if that friend was going away to the states soon. I guess we don’t hug our friends enough!