By Rebecca Hopkins
Note: Rebecca and her family were preparing to move after 14 years in Indonesia.
We’re going now. This is goodbye. Or, in Indonesian, if we’re the ones going, we say to you, “Selamat tinggal. Peace as you stay.” And then you, the ones staying, tell us, “Selamat jalan. Peace as you go.”
Indonesia, you’ve given each of us part of you. Evan, he’s my firstborn, the one who made me a mama in this world of islands and jungles. He takes with him your words. He picked up your language when he was little and, with his quick ability to make friends and your friendliness back, never lost it. For your voice in his life, I thank you.
Renea—she’s the girl that your humidity turns into my curly-haired angel. To her, you’ve given your embrace. You see her beauty and you want to take her picture, touch her hair, hug her. And when she figures out you see her deeper beauty, too, she hugs you back. For your relentless pursuit of connection with her, I thank you.
Eric is the child of mine that I like to say has Dayak blood. I almost lost him here, but with your doctors, your prayers, and your blood (through transfusions), he made it. Though he’s been through a lot, he’s my goofball, doesn’t take life too seriously. He likes to laugh and dance, too, just like you. But you know that he’s also a warrior. For the courage you gave him to live, I thank you.
Brad, my partner in this life—you gave him wings. You invited him to fly you in your most vulnerable moments, and into your hidden, breath-taking worlds. You showed him dirt strips and your escalating clouds, and rivers that curve under his floats. Through the flying, you gave him space and a purpose and a fulfillment of a God-given dream. But it was your accepting friendship that most let him be who God made him to be, and when he’s that person, he soars. For that freedom, I thank you.
As for me, you gave me your heart. You opened up to me, showed me your hurts, let me in. And in your struggles, I saw your courage. When I brought you my heart, you were there to listen, to comfort, and to guide me to heal. Deeply, I thank you.
So, Indonesia, dearest of friends, thanks for your peace as we go. Peace to you too as you remain. But please, stay with us, forever.