I Don't Do Good-Byes

Sunday, December 09, 2007 2 Comments A+ a-

I don't do good-byes... seriously, I just can't handle them. I know some of you will think its a cop-out, but its just too hard for me. I simply avoid it at all costs, often choosing instead to say "until later" but never good-bye. I will live in a state of denial when a friend or family member is moving away or dying, trying my best to simply ignore the fact that its actually happening. We all know how well denial works... it simply catches up with you at some point.

And that point was this morning.

When Jon and I were newlyweds, mere months into our marriage, we joined a small group of other newlyweds. Our leaders were Jonathan and Robin, a couple with 10+ years of marriage experience, the parents of five children, and wonderful role models. We also had Ryan and Kristin, who married about six months before us. And then there were Rebecca and Peter, married about three months after us. It was a fun group, a group where it's easy to be yourselves, accountability was strong, and we had such great encouragement and support. The group lasted about a year because Ryan and Kristin moved and Jonathan and Robin moved soon after them. (By the way, Kristin and Robin, I still think its unfair that you all ended up in the same city on the east coast. So... not... fair!) But Peter and Rebecca stayed here, with us.

Jon and I grew close to them; we were able to laugh at our differences, bond over our similarities, and tried to build the sense of community that had been taken away from us. Even when it seemed that we might not ever have another small group, the four of would get together and just enjoy each other's company. We supported each other through the minefield of newlywed marriages, new jobs, problem cars, fertility issues, several moves in and out of state, their return to Bible school, etc. It is a good friendship, easy, taking very little effort. We were ecstatic to learn that they were expecting their first child soon after we announced our pregnancy with Hudson. So, it was bittersweet when Isaiah was born two weeks after Hudson.

From the very beginning of our friendship, they expressed their interest in the mission field. They'd been to Asia several times, submitted their application to a mission agency, dove back into school to fulfill the education requirements, and soon were going church-to-church to ask for support. By last month, they had all their support and had booked their tickets to their new home in Asia. I KNEW this time was coming, I knew that one day we'd be saying good-bye, but in my head, it was always later. Not now, but later.

Last night our new small group leaders (thank you Jim and Barbie!) held a dinner as a good-bye to Pete, Rebecca, and Isaiah. It was wonderful to get together with the other couples that we've grown close to; eat, fellowship, and watch Hudson and Isaiah play together. By the end of the night, they were both sporting black eyes. Then this morning Pastor Jim called them up to the front of the church and we dedicated them to the service of God. (I'm getting teary just typing those words. It is wonderful to see all of their hard work come to fruitation.) And so, in the lobby of our church, we said our final good-byes. I hugged each one knowing that it was the last time for quite a while; Pete and I exchanged teary smiles as I charged him with taking care of his beautiful family; and when Isaiah reached out for me, I lost my composure completely.

It's going to be weird sitting in the balcony of our church, not being able to turn around and share new stories of our little guys. It's going to be weird going to small group and not see their faces. It's just going to be weird... I'm excited for them, don't get me wrong, to see them start out on a journey that God has so obviously ordained for them, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to miss them immensely. I pray that God will hold them in the cup of His hands and to be honest, 2010 cannot come soon enough for our reunion.

Go, dear friends, do what God has called you to do, but know that you will be missed. We'll be here, on the other side of the ocean, praying for you constantly!

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

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Sarah
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2:25 PM delete

What a sweet farewell Jenn. It is so hard to say good-bye, so hard to let dear friends move on to a different season of their lives if it doesn't include us. I guess we hold on to the way they enriched our lives for a season and thank God for it, then we take another step and then another, moving on to the new relationships God will bring into our lives, ready to bless and be blessed all over again. I'm so glad though that no matter how far apart you and I may live, our friendship remains rock solid through emails and blogging and phone calls:)
Love, Sarah

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Elise
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7:57 AM delete

A beautiful tribute and farewell, Jenn - I don't do goodbye's, either, having said as much to so many friends growing up. I pray I have as much grace as you when the situation presents itself again... (((Jenn)))

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