we sit on the edge of our seats, dressed in our finery, hearts beating fast as we wait for our name to be called. 'in recognition of 25 years service in missions...' is the phrase we want to hear, the award we have come to receive, the piece of paper that says we have survived being missionaries in a far-away land, under the auspices of this organization, for two and a half decades.
through coup d'etats attempts, bombings, civil unrest, poverty, raising our kids in a foreign place, struggling to make ends meet, traveling back and forth to the homeland, we have persevered. we have not quit. we have survived, and flourished. we are established now as career missionaries, and we wait for the recognition of that.
names are called.
people go forward.
our name is not on the list.
we slump back in our seats, look at each other in silent wonderment, and the wave of disappointment slams our hearts like a tsunami.
what happened? they knew we were coming! they knew we've been on the list! what happened?
in those silent, breathless moments of shock and betrayal, we sit, dressed in our finery, feeling invisible and obscure and worthless.
we whisperingly decide to leave the hall, separately so as not to make a scene...our tears just beneath the surface.
and we realize we've been overlooked...not for the first time...and it hurts.
in the morning, we feel somewhat better.
and i can't speak for my love, but i decide that this does not affect my life one bit. my sense of entitlement reveals a very human desire for admiration and recognition, a wish to hear "you are special and valued".
which, after all, does not need to come from an organization.
because i know who values me, who sees all the years of hard work and struggle and faithfulness.
he sees, he knows, and he cares.
and i don't have to get dressed up, either.