We recently decided to go and visit the Japanese garden that’s just around the corner from our house. Peter took this picture of me while there. He thought he was just taking a photo of me looking at the garden; we didn’t realize its profundity until we got home. It speaks volumes about our mentality as we approach our last few months in Canada. Things of this country are starting to fade into the background, and the things of Japan are becoming much more imminent and real.

We find ourselves not really fitting in here anymore. We go to the mall and walk around, and everything seems kind of foreign. The purchases which used to tempt us before now barely leave an imprint on our consciousness. We find ourselves craving those last few precious moments with family and friends with ferocious intensity, and there’s a general detachment to anything other than people.

I wonder if this is the same feeling that people get as they’re dying – the reality of things that are truly important comes sharply into focus, and distractions start to fade away. In a way, I feel like we’re really living out the concept of “dying to the old self” at the moment. We’re dying to our education (in Japan we’ll be like toddlers in our comprehension and communication), our occupations, our former ministries, even to some extent to our relationships here (they will not be the same as they were before; I’m a very physically-oriented person when it comes to relationships, and the ability to smell, see, and touch will be so diminished).

I suppose we’re setting out on the “mourning process” that we were warned would happen as we approach our departure date. How grateful I am for the words of a missionary friend several years ago: “Every ache of homesickness, every bit of heartache will be a sacrifice, an offering of praise and surrender that goes straight to the throne of Jesus.”

“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” (Phil. 3:7-8)