Goodbyes Don’t Get Easier With Practice

We’ve had a lot of moves in our married life. We have a lot more in the future. There are some things that get easier with practice. At least that is the mantra we are told from the time we are young and doing everything from learning to read to learning to drive. What about learning to say goodbye? Why doesn’t that get easier? Maybe it is something we should be grateful for.

When we said goodbye to Fort Worth we said goodbye to friends who had supported me through the dog days of seminary. They had encouraged Laura during a year long bout with a brutal commute. They prayed for us when we faced the prospect of infertility. They rejoiced with us when God provided a little boy. They helped us load moving trucks not once, not twice, but three different times. They prayed that God would provide me a job and rejoiced when he did. Even though we had not seen them for two years they supported us when things went south in Kansas with their generosity.

A couple of weeks ago we journeyed back to Texas and got to see a number of these friends again. Laura and I were reminded of how truly blessed we are to have them in our lives. Even though we said goodbye to them two and a half years ago it was still hard to say goodbye again. Maybe that’s a good thing. It means these people meant something to us. That they impacted us deeply. That we love them.

Sometimes you have friends that are steady and constant. They are the ones that we sometimes tend to forget about because they are always there when we need them. Because our ordeal in Kansas brought us back to Oklahoma City we have been able to spend time with a couple we have known since our college days (over ten years ago now). Even though we have spent the better part of the last decade living in different states we’ve always made time to get together when circumstances have found us in the same location. This couple came to visit us when we lived in Texas. They came to visit us when we lived in Kansas. We have traded meals multiple times over the past eight months.

When times were hard for us we would often receive encouraging phone calls or emails. They’ve rejoiced when we’ve rejoiced and wept when we’ve wept. They joined our families when we unloaded a caravan of vehicles following our stressful move from Kansas. Their steady friendship, constant encouragement and support, and willingness to make sacrifices here and there to spend time with us are all reminders of how truly blessed we are to call them our friends. It’s hard to say goodbye to them again. Maybe that’s a good thing. It means these people meant something to us. That they impacted us deeply. That we love them.

On Sunday most of our family made the journey to our church in Shawnee to celebrate with us as we took part in a parent-child dedication for Spock. Following the dedication we were able to meet back up with my siblings (minus one) and go have dinner together. We had fun. We laughed. We have history together, both good and bad,  because we are family. We have roots that run deep and that stretch from one corner of the United States and are soon to stretch to another corner.  It was hard to say goodbye to them again because this will be the furthest away I’ve ever been from my family. No longer just a half day drive away but rather a half a country away.

So as we loaded up the kids in our car and hugged in the parking lot of the restaurant where we were eating I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some tears. It’s hard to say goodbye to them again. Maybe that’s a good thing. It means these people meant something to us. That they impacted us deeply. That we love them.

There are still some goodbyes yet to happen. Those won’t be easy either. In fact, we are going to be repeating this over and over again for as long as we live. But I think those hard goodbyes are also the sweetest goodbyes. That the difficulty of leaving is a good thing. It means these people meant something to us. That they impacted us deeply. That we love them.

And so we do.

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