No one ever warned me that life was full of hello’s and goodbyes. I mean, to be fair, it is obvious since the very nature of the life cycle screams birth and death – a hello, goodbye of sorts that no one eludes. My heart longs for home. The constant hello’s and goodbyes have brought me to a quiet Saturday night of allowing myself to acknowledge that risking to go deep in relationships also means greater sadness when having to say “goodbye” to people who become so dear. This week I have said “goodbye” to three of my dearest friends. It is not like they have died, they are just moving away, but it feels in some ways like a death for a time and must be acknowledged, because they mean so much to me.
You would think that after16 years in college ministry that I would get used to the constant hello, goodbye cyle, but somehow the older I get, the more I wonder, “Is this how relationships are supposed to be?” Here for a season and then transitioning to something not quite like a stranger, but a more distant memory of that person in your every day? It seems wrong. Year after year, class of 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010 and on and on…..staff team after staff team, staff get married, some get transferred. Hours and hours, weeks, months and years of pouring into students and then throw in the summer projects where you have temporary staff teams for 7 weeks and new students and there’s another hello, goodbye. Cru staff get so used to it sometimes that we don’t really bat an eye over sharing our life story with people we will only be with for a few weeks. We do this over and over and over. This kind of vulnerability and risk that is almost expected.
Then there’s the more gut wrenching hello, goodbye of life and death. Grandparents, parents, sons, uncles, friends and pets (except for mine, because she will live forever). Wow. This is such an uplifting post. I want you to know that it is okay to struggle, grieve and ACKNOWLEDGE that the people in your life matter enough to you that when the time comes for a goodbye that it should hurt, even in the midst of celebrating what is next. Constant hello’s and goodbye’s are not normal. Maybe here on earth. Living with an eternal perspective gives me hope. One day the constant beginnings and endings of relationship will also come to an end. I look forward to a forever season of forever community.
I love you, Jeff, Sara and Haley. These goodbye’s have been some of the hardest. Thank you for making them hard because we chose to go deep.