It’s Not Goodbye – It’s See You Later

Saying goodbye is never easy.

Sometimes friends separate because of poor choices.  While you’re hurt and sad, you know the separation is wise and necessary. Still, it’s not easy.

Sometimes friends separate because life takes them in different directions.  It’s not a specific or sudden goodbye.  It’s a gradual growing apart.  One day you look back and think, why aren’t we friends?  It’s not easy.

Sometimes friends move. We’re happy for them.  We know they’re answering God’s call.  God’s plan is crystal clear.  But, guess what?  It’s not easy.

This week Steve and I will say goodbye to our close friends.  I don’t use the term “friend” lightly.  These are friends who have walked alongside Steve and me through thick and thin…mostly thick.

When we gave them every reason to turn their backs, they didn’t.

When we walked through hard seasons, they walked alongside us.

When hard conversations needed to happen, we would have them.

We’ve laughed together; we’ve cried together.

We’ve said congratulations; we’ve said I am sorry.

We had our final dinner together last night, and I spent much time after they left reflecting on all they’ve done for us.  This blog exists because they encouraged me to write.  When trying to think of a name for this blog, I ran the possibilities by them.  They read the first post before it was posted.

And, that’s just one (small) of many ways they’ve supported our family.

Perhaps what I learned most from them is that friendship is a balance.  When going through difficult times, and I’m talking about gut-wrenching suffering, friends should support and love one another.  They should pray for one another.  They should check in, give words of encouragement, bring a meal – all those things. (And they did.)

But, for me, the hallmark of a true friend is one who discerns and gives space. Our friends were wise enough to know they couldn’t fix everything.  Only God can heal and fix in His way and in His time.

So, they’d step back.  This was a gift.  I didn’t realize it at the time.  But, they knew that at the end of “me” is God.  And God alone. They gave us space to turn to God instead of always turning to them or other people.  I know, understand, and believe in the importance of community.  But, through their love, I learned to come to the end of myself.  And there was God, waiting and loving me – just as they knew He would be.

I am so thankful for their friendship.

My friend gave me this mug.  It’s her favorite verse and has been my anthem for almost a year. (I look forward to using it each morning.)

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

She gave me a letter with the mug and closed it with…this is “see you later” not “goodbye.”

This line touched me deeply.  Not only because I will miss her, but because I recently celebrated the anniversary of my dad’s death and another good friend’s dad died today.

As I reread her letter this evening, God used her words to remind me of His promise to all whose hearts have been awakened to Jesus as Savior:  our death is not goodbye – it’s see you later.  This broken, messed up world is not our home.  We rest in this HOPE:  it’s not goodbye – it’s see you later.

I am thankful for my wise friend and my risen Savior.  There’s HOPE.

Comments

  1. 🙂 Nice, Sarah. Comfort in these words.

  2. Beautifully written.

  3. Oh, wow. My heart hurts for you. My hubby and I have had to move several times, and each time it is very painful to leave our friends. But with the wonders of technology, it’s not as hard as it used to be. I skype my BFF’s and facetime, and we text constantly. And our husbands rally to send us to see one another as often as possible, usually for birthdays. You will make a way to stay connected. My dearest friends are over 1500 miles away. You sound like you are the kind of forever-friend that will never be far from your friend’s hearts and minds. Brenda
    @beface2face
    BFace2Face.wordpress.com

  4. What a beautiful tribute to them, Sarah.

  5. robin claire says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Do you have a way to put a “Like” button on your blog? Sometimes I don’t have anything to comment about but I want you to know that I stopped by and read your post.
    love to you buddy,
    robin

    • Thanks so much, Robin! I am working on that. I am not very tech savvy…but I am learning. I appreciate you reading more than I can tell you! God bless!

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