Why Saying Goodbye Is A Good Thing

The end of summer vacation brings the inevitable for most of us—goodbyes. Sometimes the goodbyes come quick and easy, and we’re out the door and find that we only looked back once, excited to walk into the new things ahead. However, sometimes they are the thing we dread most about heading back to school. Last summer I fell more into the first category. This summer is a completely different story. The dread and I have become well acquainted over the past few weeks. 

I have worked as an intern at my church this summer, and to say that I loved it is the biggest understatement in the world. The idea of not spending my time with these people, within the walls of my home church, makes my heart ache. I am already homesick for this place; I already miss the people, and I haven’t even left yet.  

Maybe you feel that way. Maybe there is a church or a job or some people you are getting ready to leave behind as you head back to school or head to the next thing in your life. It’s the worst, isn’t it?  I am so with you.

But as I prepare to leave, as I keep bringing my desperate-to-stay heart before the Lord, I’ve tried my best to end my long lamentations about leaving with two simple words—thank you.  

Because I do not want to leave in dread. Dread whispers into the heart there is nothing waiting for me as I head back to school, but thankfulness reminds me that the God who showed up this summer will remain just as faithful in all other places I find my feet. Dread asks me to forget and stop moving. Thankfulness calls me to remember and walk ahead. Dread causes my spirit to fear. Thankfulness brings a peace and joy that sustains.  

I am so thankful for a summer that is so hard to leave behind, for the people who have loved me and I have come to love. I am so thankful for all the ways this summer has challenged me, encouraged me, grown me, taught me, and brought me joy. 

But I am also thankful to be learning how to leave. Who knows what lies ahead? More places that will be hard to leave behind, more people to love and be loved by, more places that challenge, encourage, teach, grow, and bring joy? With God as the one guiding the movements of my heart and feet, I’d say the chances are good.  

I want to leave a trail of thank yous as I leave this place and enter another. I want to trust that God has me where I am for a reason, and that when I leave college again I’ll find myself with yet another trail of thank yous being left behind me as I go, either back home or to somewhere completely new.  

The tears are still going to flow (a lot) and the ache in my heart may not dull anytime soon, but with a thankful heart I will be able to look back once, twice, or fifty times, and move my feet on into the next thing God has in store for me and know it will be good—because He is always good.  

Remember that as you say your goodbyes this summer. Remember that He is the same no matter where you go, and His love and Spirit are carrying you always. 

Leave in thankfulness. Arrive in thankfulness too. 

 

Jaqueline //  @jacquelinewinstead