사랑하는 사람과의 이별, 공부하기 위해 떠나가는 자녀들과의 이별, 남편 혹은 아내를 떠나보내는 이별, 같이 신앙 생활하던 성도들과의 이별, … 돌아서는 아쉬움에 먹먹해진 가슴에 얹힌 맷돌이 시커먼 눈물되어 흘러내릴 때 한 가지를 늘 기억했으면 좋겠습니다. 다시 만난다는 사실입니다. 이 사실을 믿으면 소망 중에 이별의 아픔과 아쉬움을 이길 수 있습니다. 나 없으면 안 될 것 같지만, 나 없어서 더 잘 되는 경우도 많습니다. 아이들이 부모와 처음 떨어져 지내면서 성숙과 독립을 배우듯이 이별은 소망 속에서 아픔과 아쉬움이 하나님의 뜻을 이루는 도구로 승화합니다.
이전에 함께 신앙생활 하다가 한국으로 흩어졌던 베델 식구들을 만나려고 합니다. 이미 광고도 해서 알렸습니다. 다들, 다시 만나는 기대감에 흥분되기 시작했다고 합니다. 잠시 만나는 시간이지만, 이별했던 성도들을 다시 볼 마음에 저에 가슴에도 뽀글뽀글 흥분이 올라오기 시작합니다. 이별은 아쉽고 때론 아프지만, 다시 만날 소망을 가지고 축복하며 보냅시다.
Rev. Bryan Kim
Recently, I have parted ways with a few people. It was tremendously difficult, and I was filled with sadness. Was there ever a good parting? No, never. Parting was always difficult. As far as I remember, the most difficult kind of partings were with the church members. Because I had begun my ministry near major universities, there were a lot of students from abroad. Once they had finished their studies, they left to return home. And I remember crying behind the pulpit every year. It really felt like I was losing a limb. There were people moving away to find better opportunities or to live with their children, and the only thing that consoled me was the thought that they would find a good church and a good pastor and continue to walk in the Lord. Sometimes, I brought the parting upon myself. When I was called to serve another congregation, the thought of leaving the people whom I had served with all my life was devastating. When they came out to the airport to send me off, I felt like I was stepping over their carcasses. It has been three years already when my father had passed away, and I remember the last days that I had spent with him. He had fought the cancer in his lungs for seven months. When I visited him, he instinctively knew that that would be the last time. We embraced one another, and, in each other’s arms, we sobbed together. When the pastors at Bethel would outgrow the church and be called to serve as senior pastors at another church, I feel like sending off my sons and daughters in marriage. Of course, it is not an eternal separation, and yet, it is always difficult to say goodbyes.
Parting ways with the loved ones, sending off our children to college, losing our spouses to cancer, being separated with the fellow brothers and sisters in Christ… Despite its sadness beyond comprehension, one thing that is absolutely true is the fact that we will meet again. When we believe in this truth, we gain hope to overcome the pain and sadness of saying goodbyes. Sometimes you may seem like you are irreplaceable and yet sometimes it is better to yield your place for the betterment of others. Sometimes the children may grow and mature only when they
are separated from the parents. Sometimes the pain of being separated brings a deeper understanding of God’s will in our lives.
In the upcoming month, I am going to have a reunion with our fellow Bethelians who have moved away to Korea. The invitations have been sent and the responses are flying in. They are excited! It will be a short reunion, and yet, the thought of seeing them again bursts my heart in excitement. Parting is always difficult, but let us continue to walk in the Lord with the hope of one day seeing one another again.