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Dear David,

This morning I clung fiercely to your neck, wrapped tightly in your embrace, while high schoolers snickered nearby and teary-eyed parents snapped photos. You smelled of Old Spice body wash and fresh winter air. I buried my nose in you, memorizing even these smallest details. Saying “Goodbye” never gets easier. Stacks of black-and-white passport copies had already been distributed, and each of the 60 or so bags already identified with FCA laminated luggage tags. Your last minute to-do list, including items like packing refrigerated, pre-cooked bacon and moving pre-weighed supplies from the track storage area to the bus’ cargo hold, had already been accomplished. Final prayers spoken by your confident voice.

The last kiss. You would tell me that I’m being melodramatic. “Lauren,” you would say, “this is NOT your last kiss. In twelve days, I will be back safe and sound from Africa.”

“Do you promise, David? Promise me you will return?”

“I’m coming back, Crazy Girl,” you would assure me. “Crazy Girl . . .”

Pulling out of the school parking lot after the shuttle bus departed, the chilled car felt so empty. Your wallet perched in the cup holder. Your keys hung from my pocket. Protein bar wrapper was the only remnant of your hastily consumed breakfast. A folded note card in my seat left me the simple message: “I love you  ~David Hasz” I lost it all over again. Why did I even bother to apply mascara this morning?

Experience has taught me to keep myself ridiculously busy the first day that we are apart. Jogging, chiropractor visit, errands, Christmas shopping, clothes shopping, shopping-for-no-reason, and . . . the highlight . . . breakfast with Tyler kept me occupied, while you flew from Denver International to JFK and then finally on toward Dakar. I’m returning about half of what I purchased today, but since that gives me another to-do for tomorrow’s agenda, I’m not upset. You will be relieved that I did not accept the appealing offer to receive 25% off my purchase by applying for a credit card. Resisted the urge in your honor 🙂

Ahhh . . . but I didn’t resist the Flight of Pancakes at Snooze Cafe this morning, nor their abundance of dark coffee during the long table wait. Banana pancake with mango and cream cheese sauces, buttermilk pancake encrusted with granola and topped with pumpkin creme, roasted pumpkin seeds and chile maple syrup, and a pineapple upside down pancake with cinnamon butter filled a platter and my belly. Better yet was the mocha latte that Tyler ordered, complete with a Snooze speciality heart. We simultaneously reached for our cameras when it arrived in all its glory at our tall seats by the coffee bar.

Now, at the end of a very full day, I pray for you, for the team, for the ministry that will soon be under way. May our Heavenly Father watch between us while we are separated. May He give your body rest on the long flight over the Atlantic. May you be “strengthened in the inner man,” as the Apostle Paul said, as you lean on Christ for all that you need. May you have the compassion for homesick teenage girls, patience for sugar-crazed teenage boys, and wisdom for last-minute, unforseen decisions that only God can provide. May you know the depths of the riches of God’s glory. May you see Him reflected in the faces of the children that you go to love. Open your arms wide for them. Open your heart to their pain and their plight.

I love you so much.

Your Wife Forever, Your Crazy Girl,

Lauren

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