Outside of the family I was born into, some of the most important relationships I have in my life were formed in Hawaii. While I tend to cringe at the word “tribe,” if I were to use it, it would be in reference to this group of people. We were all part of a ministry called Home Port Hospitality House, a facet of Cadence International. We shared meals, laughter, and tears. We challenged one another to be more like Christ, watched families grow, and lived life together. However, over the years we also shared a lot of goodbyes as people PCSed (moved) to different bases. And now, I have friends in England, Singapore, Guam, and all throughout the United States. While we keep in touch quite often via technology – Facebook, FaceTime, WhatsApp – it is rare we get to see each other face to face. But when we do, it’s like it was just yesterday that we were all gathering together for our Friday Bible study.
As fate (or the military!) would have it, many of those friends I knew from Home Port have all been stationed or moved to the East Coast. So, while we were in D.C., we decided a reunion was in order. Twenty-one adults and twenty-four children gathered together for an evening of food, laughter, worship, and games. One family drove five hours to be there; another drove eight. Andrew flew up from Florida. Sarah and her daughter, who happened to be visiting the East Coast from Hawaii, joined us as well.
Had you walked into the room, you would never have guessed years had passed between that moment and the last time we were all together. For many of us, it had been more than three years! The only thing which gave it away were the changes in the children and the addition of so many new ones. How sweet it is to have friends such as this!
I was worried this wonderful time together would be followed by an intense sadness once I accepted the fact we may never gather in this way again. Instead I was quite surprised to only taste the sweetness of these friendships built around a common love for Christ. I’d been trying to replicate these relationships in Idaho. I finally accepted it wasn’t going to happen and that is a good thing. There will be new friendships, many that will be just as special, but this group will never be replaced. These friendships will span a lifetime in the same way they have spanned oceans, states, and countries. And one day, we will gather again at the feet of our King in the ultimate reunion.