They are part of life, especially here on this floating village in which people come and go every other day and the moment you get attached to someone he or she leaves being replaced by someone else who doesn’t know what the person meant to you in the first place. After saying goodbye to a bus full of people this mourning a friend put it like this (or almost) – It’s like that group of friends that go off to war together and actually do make it back alive. They have all these shared memories and emotions but eventually old age catches up, people die and you are left alone surrounded by strangers who don’t care about the times you survived hell together.
I’m not saying this ship is a hellish warzone (although sometimes it is close) but when the bonds that are formed in such close, trying community are suddenly torn apart there is a mourning process involved and I think it is harder on the other side of the bus window.
Leaving this ship is leaving life. Those who remain onboard welcome in new people and start the process of building new friendships, creating new memories. Those who leave watch as life goes on without them and others are seemingly unaffected.
Suddenly surrounded by the silence and isolation of what was once a normal life you begin to crave community even if it means being awoken by your neighbor’s alarm clock through paper-thin walls. Nobody quite understands what you went through or are going through. Nobody laughs when you joke about ship problems. Nobody cares that you took longer than a two minute shower or just found an amazingly strong magnet. You begin to believe that nobody cared about you at all and if life goes on so easily without you were the friendships even real in the first place?
Perhaps that was just me but when I drove away from this ship almost a year ago exactly not knowing when I would be back and almost certain that when I did the family would have changed it was one of the most difficult transitions I have ever experienced and I was only onboard eleven weeks. Yes I was home for Christmas last year but all I wanted was to be back.
So to all of you who have recently returned home, are in transit or are about to leave this life and reenter into what the world considers “normal” know life may go on here but you have made a difference. You have impacted lives. You have followed God’s call on your life and you will be missed.
You will all be missed.