Remember, life is a series of hellos, goodbyes and hellos. ~Norman H. Wright (Those in Grief: A Guide to Help You Care for Others)
The military life is a rough one in many respects, and I must confess that saying “goodbye” every few years has been the absolutely worst part for me. I hate saying goodbye! This coming weekend brings another round of it as we say a goodbye, of sorts, to our chapel family. We are passing the baton on to a fellow chaplain who we respect very much, but it’s still hard to do. It means no more Sunday morning chats with my mommy crew, no more setting out chairs, prepping the worship service, no more Sunday night reviews of a sermon, no more after service conversations. For me, the social media sites are a ghost substitute to being physically involved in the lives of my friends. I miss hearing the laughter and seeing the smiles or tears on their faces. We have shared good food and games and life with them. We have been on our knees in prayer for them and my husband has had the pleasure of baptizing them!
The LORD our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain.’ ~Deuteronomy 1:6
How do I handle the painful goodbyes?
- I allow myself to cry and don’t suppress the pain.
- I make sure I remember all the moments I have with them, often making memories in those final playdates and hugs.
- I have pictures, whether in my mind or visible photos.
- I write about it! Writing can be healing, I highly recommend it!
- I keep in touch however I can! My goodbye isn’t a cold silence, it is “until next time”.
- I remind myself that these people will spend eternity with me, and that is beyond comforting for a Christian!
But the goodbye must come and with it, the pain. Life must continue to bring change and I am thankful that Jesus walks me through these painful moments. I don’t ever just founder by myself in the midst of transition. Thankfully, I have an anchor that I cling to when change comes. Jesus does not bring change just to hurt us, but to teach us! Without change, we may learn to treasure and cling more fully to the temporal things of this earth instead of heavenly glories. We can also put more faith and assurance in earthly friendships rather than the relationship with the Eternal Son. For me, this time, He has been gracious to give me such a joy at the end of this change, but that is for another post 😉
So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. ~Hebrews 6:17-20 (ESV)
For more on my painful goodbyes: I Hate This Part Right Here.