Embracing Goodbye

Our recent life change occasioned an above average amount of goodbyes last month. I’ve never been one to relish partings (who does, really?), and these farewells were no different.

We said goodbye to a church body who had provided a livelihood and supported our ministry. We said goodbye to students who had become a very special part of our lives. We said goodbye to a small group of friends who acted as family in the absence of our own, who hosted baby showers, shared yard equipment, served and prayed with us.

Our transition had been in the works since September, but the finality of our move wasn’t real until we started saying those goodbyes. Despite looking forward to a new season in life and ministry, there was a bittersweet edge to each hug and handshake. Each explanation of our move held hope for the future and a bit of dismay at what, and who, would be left behind.

Embracing GoodbyeI wasn’t sure how to navigate the sadness and excitement without feeling disingenuous to one or the other. I’m ashamed to admit I snuck away from a couple of gatherings early to avoid the sadness of a last goodbye. When a goodbye was unavoidable, I assured myself right along with others that this wasn’t farewell forever. And though the likelihood of us visiting Coeur d’Alene again is high, the vague promise of seeing people again felt weak.

When faced with long-term goodbyes, it seemed easier on my heart to say, “see you soon.” I could avoid the well-spring of emotion attached to parting with certain people by assuring myself that this wasn’t going to be the last time I saw them. But, saying “see you soon,” left so much unsaid.

I didn’t tell some people just how much their generosity and service meant to our family. I didn’t tell some people how much our coffee dates brightened up my days. I didn’t tell some people how much I admired their intentionality and thoughtfulness. I didn’t tell some some people how much I appreciated their consistent prayers. Because I said “see you soon,” instead.

Embracing goodbye acknowledges that there are seasons in life. Some of the sweetest relationships I’ve had have only lasted a short while and I’ve struggled against that fact. People and places will come and go and our inability to accept their transience diminishes the lasting influence a seasonal circumstance or relationship can have.

Embracing goodbye helps acknowledge the impact people have made on your life; each goodbye a little pile of stones to remember what God did through that relationship. I have many little piles of stones from our time in Coeur d’Alene and I thank God for what He accomplished through each person those stones represent. I only wish I had embraced goodbye more wholeheartedly in person.

Dear Weekend {31 Days of Letters}

Dear Weekend,

Parting with you is so very bittersweet.  I usually don’t acknowledge the imminence of your departure because it’s too painful.  My weeks are nothing to dread – no laborious job, no duties I despise – but there’s an element of freedom that begins to build come Friday which rarely makes an appearance during the work week.

You offer unconstrained time.  Hours are strung together with nothing to hold them hostage.  You are like a blank canvas waiting to be splashed with colors and textures of the artist’s own choosing.  Spontaneity is your medium, and there are no rules.

As a planner, I find your unscheduled-self refreshing.  I can be the author of chaos or calm.  Whatever I choose you will most certainly oblige.  With such manners, it’s no wonder why people, like myself, love you.

I love how I can sleep in, read a book for hours, and watch too much Downton Abbey all on your time without feeling guilty.  I love how you have a time for worship, community, service, and fellowship.  I love that there is time to be still and time for adventure.

All this to say, I can’t bear to bid farewell.  Even knowing that ours is only a temporary parting does not ease the sense of loss that Monday brings.  Please slip away quietly and be swift in your return.

Sincerely,

Emily

 

You can find all my letters here.

For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.