I am closing out a season of saying goodbyes. Several of our close friends have moved away and other pieces have come to a close. I am getting good at saying goodbye. I am not sure this is a quality I was looking to grow in, but I did!
Of all the recent goodbyes, the hardest was our dear friends who we helped move out West last week. Here are some things I am learning about goodbyes:
It’s important to be intentional.
I am Lutheran in roots and I have a deep appreciation of liturgy, potluck meals, and congregational cookbooks! I'll focus on liturgy for this post! In our family we make regular life event into big deals! We “mark” them with a “ceremony”, a “liturgy”. Birthdays and anniversaries are big deals! We celebrate our daughters baptismal anniversaries each year, too. We have had a house blessing ceremony each time we have moved. We had a funeral for our fish, Twinkles, after his death. (Check out Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren if you are interested in these ideas)
You don’t have to be a pastor to make ordinary events into sacred moments. Invite and acknowledge the Spirit’s presence, light a candle, say a prayer. Find ways to “mark” the time. The Israelites did this by building stone altars to mark a spot where God had shown up. The stones helped them to remember God’s faithfulness. See Joshua 4 for one example.
So, in saying goodbye to dear friends we had a “goodbye liturgy”. I was honored to help them move so I was also able to do a short house blessing in their new home.
A wise friend reminded me to make memories and have some fun amidst the deep emotions of sadness and feelings of loss. Great advice! I got matching outfits for my friend and I and we laughed as we drove cross county getting weird looks at gas stations! We seized the time we had together. We cried and hurt, but we also made great memories! I think it's important to be fully present and vulnerable. Say the things you want to say. Be sad if you are and ask for what you need from those who love and support you.
What or who is God asking you to say goodbye to? Do you have any goodbyes coming up? How can you be intentional and invite the Holy Spirit to be part of those goodbyes?
The other side of a goodbye is usually a new “hello”.
Isaiah 43:19 says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Do you not perceive it!” This is a prophecy of the coming Christ who makes all things new, but God has used this verse to encourage me that He brings newness and life. He IS newness and life! I know my old friends are still friends—there is just a new way we will be friends. And God has been so good to bring in some new relationships that are so life-giving. I feel very blessed!
What newness do you see God bringing to you? Look for it—it’s there. He is there!