Christmas lights still twinkle at night in Yopal. There’s a huge tree and snowflakes outside the mall just across the street from the hotel. One evening as we exited the mall it was actually snowing. Snowflake bubbles. Soap. Even in a city where it’s always summer Christmas needs snow.
Last night we sat around an outdoor table in downtown Yopal, Christmas lights creating magic. The night was surreal, less because of Christmas, and more because of significance. There were eighteen of us circling the table, seven “almost” Andersons, and eleven others dear to our boys. It was a farewell gathering. And it was beautiful and sad.
As our time together reached the end the woman who has mothered our boys the longest asked their new dad to pray. I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the gift, and overwhelmed by its meaning. Every person at the table has loved these boys. Loved them deeply. You can see it in their eyes. And because of their love they willingly say good-bye.
Felipe has been sick. It’s hard to tell physical pain from emotion, and why not? Head, heart and gut bear the weight of this good-bye. My stomach feels it, too.
Our path has been paved by angels, all with Colombian faces. The people of Yopal. I’m amazed by their beauty, inside and out. Hotel personnel. Social workers. The sweetest lawyer we’ve ever met. Twice the boys have seen friends at the mall, precious children, astonishing in beauty. I can’t begin to imagine how hard it must be for our boys to leave these faces behind. No wonder they grieve.
I’m so glad we’re here. It’s a privilege to know for a moment this place our boys have known for a lifetime. To see its mountains and eat its food and walk its streets. To know its people. To understand at least a little what our boys are leaving, and what they’ll miss.