I’ve always been a messy goodbye-sayer. Dormitories where I hung my hammock, trailer homes that shook with the morning stroll, a basement bedroom next to an overly active washing machine…sure, I’m a lover of places. But of course, the pain of leaving is evoked by my torn heart strings wound around those lovely people.
As a strong visual learner, I still can see the brick wall that held a lifetime supply of Clight Frutas Rojas when I left my Alem friends. I remember the night before graduation, stealing away for just a moment of crisp air and light-laced bushes. I was moved by the tears of my Bible working host family as I feebly articulated my gratitude in verse. My father being near tears made it hard to hold my own when I packed up to move states and shift classrooms.
Leaving behind some of the people I love most in this world, I climbed in my car and prayed, Lord help me be grateful for time with them and not ache for the time.
Words of a dear brother at such a parting came to mind, “Oh, Callie, this isn’t goodbye. It’s ‘I’ll see you later.'” Remember, this isn’t permanent.
I thought these were just cliché words to calm my sensitive heart, but it’s rung truer with time. As a disciple of Christ, there is something that binds that lies much deeper than common interests or common classes. No, we have the same “immense pillar,” the same song in our soul, the same love of our life, the same central passion. Christ and Him crucified . . . though the heavens fall . . .
Furthermore, though my beloved people mean more to me than articulation allows, they are not who I essentially need. What I wish I could tell my weeping self, stuck in that cab down dusty roads, is that Who I need is still with me. I would remind my heartsick self, that Jesus quite literally never leaves nor forsakes. Whether it’s saying a month-long goodbye to the fiancé over miles of wide ocean or it’s the years-long goodbye of a beloved soldier resting until the awakening voice of Christ, Jesus is still near. He knows. He’s enough.
Good-byes are the worst because you’re parting (and it’s okay that it hurts. Separation was never meant to be). It’s not the worst because, in Jesus, it’s only temporary. And, no matter how it looks or how it feels, you always have who You need. And He will always provide what you need. Even meaningful relationships with new people that you never saw coming.