Monday, April 27, 2015

A Season for Goodbye

Saying goodbye is never really an easy or fun task in any season of life. It can be heartbreaking and a bit gut wrenching in a thousand little ways.

Goodbyes can be short. A, see you soon, if you will. Or they can be longer, in hopes that you will one day see each other in the future. Goodbyes can even be forever (at least on this side of heaven), and these are sometimes the hardest goodbyes of all.

This week has been one of extremely tough goodbyes.

First I packed up my suitcases, cleared out my bed, and said a bunch of hard goodbyes to the amazing family I have made in Uganda. Some of the goodbyes were for the first time. Some of them were for the second or third time around. All equally as painful.

When you move to a new place, no matter how long or short that time period may be, and you create relationships with those you meet, your heart gets attached pretty fast. Faster than you would think actually. My roommates were a crazy group of wonderfully strong women. I admire them all and love them to the moon and back.

This group of ladies will forever be family in my heart. My prayer is that I will meet up with them all again, doesn't matter how many years from now, it's gonna happen.

I've also spent years (since 2011) creating close relationships with a few of the local Ugandans, whom I love with my whole heart. My friends in Uganda, again, are just like family to me. They were a shoulder to cry on when bad news came our way, a deep conversation, a prayer partner to rely on, and laughs that never seemed to end.

These friendships were some of the hardest goodbyes.

The silver lining being, that I know that I will see them again. Whether it is months or even years from now, we will figure out a way to reunite and I look forward to seeing my loves once again.

Then came my last goodbye. The heartbreaking, gut wrenching kind.

The day I flew in from Uganda, I was told that my beautiful grandmother had passed after only a few short weeks of battling lung cancer. No matter how many people I have lost in my life, nothing truly prepares you for it happening again.

My grandma was an incredibly strong woman who, through the entirety of my childhood and the majority of my life, was the central hub of the family. She would spend countless hours cooking feasts for family gatherings, making sure everyone was taken care of, and giving the secret grandma stink eye when yet another bottle of Chloe perfume snuck up on an unsuspecting victim at Christmas time.

She was my kind of perfect.

And I will always remember hours of playing dishes in her kitchen sink, sneakily tricking her into watching Friday the 13th with me when I was 9 (I think we made it through the first half hour before I was scarred for life and she turned it off), countless sleepovers (grandmas make the best babysitters), playing cars with my cousin on her massive back deck, sweet smiles, and a lifetime of warmth and love.

I will always be honored that she flew all the way to Florida to be apart my wedding, even though she probably hadn't been on a plane in the past decade. Nothing was going to stop her from being there. She will always be my hero.

I fully understand how hard goodbyes can be. In fact, sometimes they downright suck.

But God says that He made ALL things beautiful in their time, in their seasons. Even goodbyes.

And through these goodbyes, I want to spend my time and energy completely engulfed in the love and laughter of each beautiful memory of the past. Remembering each moment for the gift and blessing it brought into my life during its season.

Knowing that there will be a day, in all of these cases, where I will get to wrap my arms around each person and say the beautiful word, "Hello!"

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