Monday, September 29, 2014

On Goodbyes

**This is one of those mornings where I'm supposed to be doing school but my Bible study this morning applied SO directly to my life I just need to write about it. So here we go.**


Even if they're just temporary, there's something about them that pulls at your heartstrings until you feel as if there's nothing left. The tears rise and you feel that familiar burning in your throat growing as you dab at your eyes, trying to keep mascara from smearing.

I've had a lot of these in the past two years, more than I would like to remember.

The hardest goodbyes are the ones where you don't get to say goodbye- where the person leaves before you get a chance to wish them well, before you get to tell them how much you really did love them, how much you still love them.

Then there are the kind that are face to face. You embrace and cry and get to tell the person how much you love them, you wish them well and watch them load into the car. And then they drive off. You know it's harder for them than it is for you when a piece of your heart has just gone to live somewhere else.

Weeks crawl by and you wonder where they have gone and when they will be back, if they'll be back at all.

I can remember when my Paige died. My father held me and I cried, "I didn't get to say goodbye." Later in the day, I hugged a middle schooler at church and she said, "I just wish I could have said goodbye."

When my *adopted* big sister and brother-in-law moved to California last October, we stood on the front porch of the house they were staying in. Their eleven month old daughter was confused as could be about why everyone around her was crying, but we all knew. East coast to west coast is a long way away and Christmas didn't seem very close at all.

Just over a month ago, one of my dearest friends was leaving for college. Over the last six months we've become closer than ever and I dreaded the day when she would make the two hour drive and move into her dorm room at Gardner Webb University. We stood in the youth area after everyone else had left. Normally we are extremely sarcastic around each other but not that night. We wrapped our arms around each other, each of us about to lose it and said, "I love you, friend."

And in just a couple of days, I'll say another goodbye to two people who have become increasingly important in my life within the past year and a half. They are moving to Brazil to be missionaries and I couldn't be more excited to see what the Lord is going to do through them there. Trent has taken me in as his little sister, offering me more advice, love and encouragement than I ever deserved. Sydney has been faithful to text me when I'm having hard weeks and pray for me when I need it. I don't know how I'm going to make it without them around.

In my Bible study this morning, one statement stuck out to me. When I read it, I didn't think of it in context of the passage we were looking at. But in the context of goodbyes.

"Closeness carries risk."

Closeness carries the risk of telling the painful truth.

Closeness carries the risk of losing that person and the pain being unbearable.

Closeness carries the risk of long distance relationships, FaceTiming and Skyping.

Closeness carries the risk of goodbyes. 

And as hard as goodbyes might be...I wouldn't trade these relationships for anything.

I wouldn't trade the memories, the letters, the hugs, the encouraging texts and words...

I wouldn't trade it just because goodbyes hurt.

After all- closeness carries risk. We know going into a relationship that things could go wrong. But we also know that at some point, we'll have to say goodbye in one way or another.

As much as this hurts, we must remember- I must remember- that Christ calls us as the church to "admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone." (1 Thes. 5:14-15)

Even if it means a more painful goodbye in the end, let's make relationships, let's encourage one another, let's not take for granted one moment we have together...

Because it's all beautiful. It's all so beautiful. And it's all part of His plan, every single moment.

"And the only way to ever leave beauty marks on the world is with bits of yourself — and this will hurt. Things of realest beauty don’t bring us glory — but Him glory." {Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience}