The Goodbye I Want to Say

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May the goodbyes we say to each other be filled with thanks, memories, and trust for our expanding futures.

Goodbyes are tricky business. A lot of people I know struggle with goodbye mostly because their goodbyes have been final, or tragic, or at least extremely difficult. They have been goodbyes filled with difference or conflict – and are remembered as terrible and hard. But the goodbye I want to say isn’t like that.

The goodbye I want to say is ‘thank you’. Thanks for being there, in real life. For being authentic and honest and human. Thanks for the permission to be the same. Thanks for loving me and my family and loving others with me – many who weren’t so easy to love. Thanks for caring and sharing and loving and laughing and crying. Thanks for the rebukes filled with kindness and the truth filled with grace. Thanks for the good times even through the hard times. Thanks for all that.

We struggle to say these things to each other out loud because they seem final. It seems like we are ending – instead of just expanding. So, we don’t say what we want because we think it might come out all wrong… but that’s not the goodbye I want to say.

The goodbye I want to say is, ‘I won’t forget you‘. I know others have judged you and people have snubbed you, but I don’t underestimate you. You’ve been a powerful source of God’s presence and revelation to me and in this world. You are carriers of God’s light into dark places. You have taught me about humility and honesty and perseverance and self control. I won’t forget you.

I remember learning one of the words for goodbye in Russia – ‘pacca’ is translated literally as ‘until’. It’s the recognition that life goes on and we depart ‘until’ a time when we can meet again. So I don’t want to say some tear-filled goodbye that is just about our emotional pain and present circumstances.

The goodbye I want to say is ‘I trust you‘. I trust the work that God has started in you. I trust His ability to do more than we could ask or imagine. And I trust you. I trust that you will take care of the seed planted in you. I trust that you are more than willing and ready to take on the charge – to obey God in whatever He asks of you. To keep loving and serving and giving and receiving (some spiritual breathing). Seriously, I’m not just saying this to pump you up. I trust you. I really do. I trust you to love your next leader like you did me. I trust you.

So, if you’ve been wondering about the lack of ‘goodbyes’ happening in our midst, then it’s most likely because, like me – you don’t want to say a silly goodbye. But the goodbye we want to say to each other is filled with thanks, memories and trust for our expanding futures. Sure, there’s pain in the parting – but it’s not like death – it’s much more like birth. A new season. I was thinking about this as I held the newest member of Crossroads Community in my arms this morning. Only two days old but I was thinking about all the changes his little life represents. It was a prophetic moment that reminded me of our goodbye.  Simply a shifting of our worlds to realign with more of what God has in store. I can hardly wait to see it all unfold.

Thank you. I won’t forget you. I trust you.

This is the goodbye I want to say.

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