Yesterday I had to start saying my ‘final’ final goodbyes. I’ve been telling Harrisonburg friends, oh, I’ll still be around, I’ll still see you. Yesterday morning our church youth and leaders headed off for a weeklong retreat. I won’t get to see them again here in Harrisonburg.
At MTI we talked about saying goodbye well. I’m afraid I’m not good at that. Laura told me she loved me, but I couldn’t even get that out. Instead I just stood there. I’ll write it out later, trying to tell her – and others! – just how much they have meant to me. So, that’s something, I guess. How do you sum up years of friendship, tough times, fun stuff, long talks, shared memories? I hate this!
Last night was my final 6:33 worship service. I was tempted to not go because I knew it would be bittersweet. Our music director, who is a good friend, had Revelation Song as our final song. He knows it's one of my favorites.
Realizing it will likely be at least 18 months before I worship with my church family again made it hard to get out the words. But what a gift to be reminded of why I'm going - to be a part of bringing some from all tribes, tongues, languages & nations to sing out Holy, Holy, Holy at the throne of God!
Today and tomorrow morning I’ve got to finish packing. The Gift & Thrift truck comes at 2:30 tomorrow afternoon, and everything I’m not storing with friends or taking to Guatemala has to get on it. Lots of my wonderful friends have volunteered to help, but this part I need to do alone.
It was easy for a while, but now, with random things left over, I’m slowing down. Do I really want to give away my Star Wars key rings, given to me by my amazing friend Geraldine? Maybe I can keep a few, but which ones? Luke, Hans Solo, R2D2? Well, the last one is obvious, right?!
How about the last few books? I put Tim Keller’s newest on one pile, then another. Some things are lightweight, so they’re making the cut. But… do I really need them, or am I just holding on? I’m beginning to drive myself crazy. I’ve been at it two hours this morning, and all I’ve managed to do is move stuff from upstairs to downstairs. I hate this part, too.
I’ve started the final goodbyes, and the hardest ones are still to come. My ‘spiritual’ moms, my holiday family, my small group… Have I mentioned I hate this?! Hate is a strong word, I know. But, right now that’s how I feel. This “final” final stuff is hard. I know it has a purpose, I know I am following God’s call, I know joy will come. But, today I’m feeling sorry for myself.
At this time next week my current Spanish competency will be assessed, I’ll be meeting my new tutor, we’ll be planning my studies. I’ll have already met my family and spent two nights with them. Already walked around Antigua, Guatemala. I’m looking forward to all of that, even though it’s equally exciting and terrifying (Yay and Yuck, right?!)
But, today, I just want to sit and cry. Cry over silly things like a Boba Fett key ring, and over really important things like sisters and brothers in Christ. I’ll be fine in a while. I really will be. As we also learned at MTI, the fact that this hurts is a good thing. It means I’ve loved and been loved. But, as good as it is, ouch, does it ache.
I’m just going to call today a Yuck Duck day. Even in this, though, are Yays. Yay that I’ll have dinner with good friends tonight. Yay that I’ve got more fun meals to look forward to. Yay that my air mattress seems to be holding air. Yay that I’ve still got three servings of baked oatmeal waiting for me. Yay that God is with me, inviting me to lean into Him.
Deep breath, nose blown, tears washed off face… Thank you, Father, for meeting me today. Thank you that You are here. Thank you for allowing me to hurt because it means these years in Harrisonburg, these relationships, matter. Now, back to it!