The number rings in my mind as we push into the finality…the end of so many things. Maybe you can relate. The countdown plummeting into the double digits, as emotions intensify.
School is ending, a new season is budding, in a few months friends are moving away…or maybe you have no idea what is happening in a few months. Whether we like it or not, the goodbyes are approaching. The hugs and kisses at airports, tears while scrolling through old memories, regretting missed opportunities and wishing for more time. (Call me dramatic or sentimental but we’re all familiar with this).
I’ve always thought that goodbyes were something I was an expert at, that I have perfected through practice (more times than I’d have liked to). I’ve realized that no, it doesn’t get any easier. (And, a part of me wants to ignore this whole ordeal as means to avoid the pain).
As we experience more separation and departure, leaving a place, leaving relationships—they get harder because we have loved. We have loved and we have loved. Pieces of ourselves, of our lives are now within various individuals we’ve encountered along the way. Our stories now inevitably woven into other’s stories. Regretfully, sometimes we don’t realize how we’ve encountered this experience of love until suddenly they are not in our lives anymore. Yet again, the way life goes is that you’ll just have to say farewell and then more pieces of your heart scattered throughout (quite possibly) the world.
While I know this heaviness and ache that comes in giving and having to leave, I choose to act upon love wholeheartedly. Because what comes out of it is the ability to see God’s world even more. In fact, sometimes the things we treasure the most, we must be separated from so that we can discover more of what we need, and bring to light new perspectives into God’s world. And, we will look back in sentiment, reminiscing on old days in gratefulness of these opportunities.
So, 50 days. (or however many it may be for you). Tomorrow will just be one less than today. 49, or whatever it may be (it doesn’t really matter). But the anxiety increases, emotions fluctuate from joy to sorrow. One day life is grand, and the next day you’re dreading what’s to come. And yet, each day matters. Each interaction and conversation is one of love (if you choose it to be).
I hope that today you choose to view each person, each conversation, each action in love. That whatever the time frame, however much time you have left with your people, that you would choose to love. This is the love in goodbyes. The love in goodbyes is one that is fragile and authentic. It is one that gives without regret, and one that understands the hurt yet embraces what’s to come. Quite honestly, it may be very much easier to opt out of the goodbyes and move on quickly, but then I have not experienced the love in it.
So may it be full of grief but we can go into this period of goodbyes full force in love, so that we fully embrace the light each person brings to our worldview. That our stories woven together by God’s grace, would be a stepping stone for the unknown future. Our time is limited here and I will do what I can to love. To look back and be full of experience in treasuring what was present and then loving what is present.