There are times when your hopes become realized and one moment in time satisfies a yearning that you did not know existed. Times when a single experience can define and fulfill an eternity of aspiration. Today was one of those times.
Today was Toronto day. I woke up late, hopped on a GO bus, and rendezvoused with Chris W. downtown. Like so many other moments that have passed during this trip, this was one that felt like home to me. I felt an instant familiarity with my ex-co-chair/housemate that cannot be described by any other word than “right”. Such a familiarity persisted in spite of time, distance, and his change in wardrobe reflecting an improvement in fashion sense.
We travelled to Thornhill for dinner at a Korean restaurant, reuniting with this our CCF committee (minus Lowell, who was in Uganda on a missions trip). It was so good to see the group again, to hear MCY’s voice in the discussion mix and Viv’s laughter right there with it. To hear Momo’s random jokes and Chris’s calm commentaries. I didn’t know what to expect of the gathering, but it turned out to be filled with feelings of familiarity and family, and the time passed far too quickly before we had to give each other goodbye hugs. It was a shame we didn’t get to hang out as a committee as much as we would have liked during the year. I suppose this dinner was a bit of consolation on that front. As we were saying goodbye, Viv gave me a beautiful card that she had hand-made with love and decorated with her artwork. She had written an encouragement inside for me:
I believe that God has sown a seed in you and that He has been faithfully working in your communities to water and grow you. You’re like the young tall tree in spring, awaiting to bloom and flourish. And we know that if we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit. So I hope you learn to abide, not forcefully or through striving, but just as the Spirit leads…I thank God for your gentle spirit and eager loving ears…thank you for pointing me back to the cross and making my 4th year one filled with love and support…Now it’s time to forge new roads, my friend :)
When I read that I was floored. My heart was filled with warmth and my mind instantly went back to my first night ever at CCF, when Kingsley had prayed over me and felt the Spirit leading him to lead me to passages in Psalms and Jeremiah about a tree planted by water. That night, Kingsley (whom I had just met) told me he felt God giving him that image of a tree; that I was that tree. How prophetically fitting it is that now when it is time for me to leave CCF and say goodbye to this wonderful world, my sister in Christ writes to me a prophetic word of encouragement. I’m so so thankful.
All this happened before the main event of the night: a reunion with my housemates. If familiar, family, and home were words used to describe my encounters with people earlier on this trip, this reunion was by far the most powerful of all. These men have been my brothers for the past few years, and seeing them again (while also knowing it would likely be the last time we ever gathered as a full house) was such a powerful and poignant experience. When we played Munchkin together, it was like no time had ever passed over the past year, and it was like we were housemates once again, right away, suspended in a moment of time that ignored the worries of the future. Our jokes and personalities were the same as ever, and it didn’t feel in any way like we wouldn’t all be returning to the house again in September. This was the first time we had gathered as a full house in a long, long time. And this was probably one of the (if not the very) last times we would ever gather as a full house. And it was by far the most memorable, meaningful time: a time of beer and macarons, of laughs and silly photos, of strong hugs and soft hearts.
Parting with my housemates tonight, knowing we would likely never meet like this again, was incredibly melancholic and sentimental for me. We must have taken almost a hundred group photos just to prepare for the inevitable separation. But when I look at those photos weeks, or months, or even years from now, what I will see and remember is a group of men who were (and hopefully still will be) brothers in arms and family at heart. I will see and remember our smiles, our laughs, our personalities, and our memories. Our shared experiences together and our unforgettable time together. Nostalgic as it will be, I will remember the joy instead of dwelling on the sorrow. And, like when I read Viv’s letter, I will be thankful.
Bromen, you have been such an enormous blessing to me. Whatever comes our way, I hope we can remain close brothers through all the years of life. But for now, here’s to you.
[Aug 17, 2013]