I looked at the clock yesterday morning and through blinking eyes saw a 5 staring back at me. "wow an hour and 15 minutes until I have to wake up and get ready for my last day". I rolled over and tried, rather unsuccessfully, to go back to sleep. Well, most of you know that when your mind is racing your body tosses and turns (sorry Diane) and the alarm going off was a relief. I rolled out of bed, greeted the cold air with a winsome step and slid into my car. "This is the last time in a long time I will have to do this commute" I turned on the radio and got on my way.
I rolled into the parking lot at the usual time and slipped into my usual Friday routine and it wasn't until close to the end of the day that I started realizing that the whole day had been a series of lasts. The last breakfast, the last lunch, and finally the last trip in the van as the Director of Transportation. I soaked it in, walking around the hotel and remembering the changes and the people and then it was time to clock out and leave. I punched in the buttons on the time clock and slipped my hand in one last time, the machine beeped, I walked into my boss' office, shook his hand, told him "thank you" and walked out.
I drove to the restaurant where my good bye party was being held and found my way to the lobby and talked to the staff while I waited for people to show up. "I'm working some party tonight" she said, "for the Courtyard?" I asked, "Yeah that's it"...
My friends showed up and it all started to slowly sink in. We talked at the bar for awhile and then they gave me a shirt they had made for me and signed, I pulled it over my head and together we walked back to the room that was reserved for us. "Wow, this is amazing, what beautiful pictures." As I looked around the room I saw moments from the last ten years leap off the wall, Creed in my arms, my first time to Thailand, my 30th birthday party, my kindergarten class from Yaounde Cameroon. It was amazing, then I noticed the superman congratulations cake and award next to it "Caleb Robbins Employee of the Decade." It was too much and my eyes filled with tears. I felt so loved and appreciated like my family was telling me they were proud of me and not just for what I had done at work but for who I was and where I was going.
I sat down and let the evening surround me with memories, laughter and joy. Dinner was over and it was toast time, my boss walked over and gave a heart warming speech, presented me with the award and then told me they had gotten together and raised money for my ministry, again I felt the hot salty tears well up in my eyes and I couldn't hold them back. I stood up and poured out my heart in response to so much love (Diane told me later that I wasn't the only one with leaky eyes) and when I sat down I was grateful to have had a chance to celebrate one last time with my dear friends.
The night drifted by and before I knew it people were hugging me and saying good bye and letting me know that I would be missed and then I was in my car driving home and my heart was bursting. I felt like I had when I graduated high school and knew that I would be leaving Africa for a long time, maybe forever. I felt like I did at the airport saying goodbye to my friends and looking forward to the long trip back to America to embrace the future that awaited me there.
God has laid out a wonderful future, in fact it is my dream job and I'm so happy to be starting it, but transitions are hard - even good ones, even for an old MK who has had to make plenty of them over the last 30 years. One thing that makes me so happy is knowing that the friends I leave behind are happy for me and support me, and also that they are only half an hour away.
As I drove home I praised God for his goodness, for using the weak and foolish things in this world, for using me. I thanked him for his kindness and his wisdom for his plan and his gentle leading, and I thanked him for the people that I shared ten years of my life with, and for the people that I get to share the next phase of my life with.
... and step by step you'll lead me and I will follow you all of my days...
the journey continues!
If you want to support what I do a little or a lot, on a one time basis or a recurring basis, click on the tab "Supporting the Work" at the top of the page and search for Caleb Robbins and then click on Caleb and Diane Robbins. Diane is my beautiful wife and the mother of my three precious children Creed 5, Asher 3, and Liam 1.