Monday, August 12, 2013

Saying Goodbye...

Saying goodbye is something that is inevitable in this life, but somehow I seem to be saying a lot of it lately. Having lived in Bosnia for over 12 years, I have said a fair share of goodbyes to other "ex-pat" workers who have left along the way... I console myself by picking up some of their stuff where I can, so I now have a HUGE library of books for instance - I jokingly say outlasting other people has its benefits!

My colleague also asked me the other day how many short-term teams I have hosted or been involved in. And I would have to go back and count them, but it has been a LOT. And with short-termers comes the inevitable goodbyes. And you start protecting yourself by not getting involved with short-termers and not putting your heart out too much...

I mean the truth is, saying goodbye stinks. Especially if you don't know when or if you will see people again on this side. It is nice to know with believers that one day we will see them in heaven at least! Sergej (a colleague I said goodbye to in 2009), used to say "meet you at the East Gate" to people when saying goodbye. I like that. It gives hope...

This year has been particularly hard. I said goodbye (albeit from a distance) to two of my oldest friends in Bosnia, who had to go back to the US for health reasons. And his prognosis is really grim, so I am pretty sure I will only see him again on the other side...That just stinks.

And my good friends here in Banja Luka also left in July to go back to the US, and I am going to miss them a lot. They were kind of like my mom and dad here. Really stinky.

And other friends are also going back to their home country, and then this spring/summer I had 3 short-term teams and two singles coming through... heart crushing to say goodbye to all these wonderful people I was just starting to get to know!

I am really blessed with lots of local friends, and that helps a LOT. But sometimes I need to speak with people who get all of what I am going through. And so finding friendship with people "living between two worlds" is essential, and rarer, and thus it hits harder when the inevitable goodbye happens...

And I haven't even mentioned the goodbyes that happen when I leave one of my "homes" and go to the other... those are also stinky! Whichever way I go, I have to say goodbye to someone :(

And yet, I pick myself up off the floor, and realise that my hope is not in my relationships with others here on this earth. My home is not here. I am just here for a short while and then I will be home forever with the One who turns my mourning into dancing... weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning!! 

So, I continue to put my heart out there, and say goodbye well, knowing that it is all a part of the process of living here in this fallen world. And I know that one day, not too far off in the light of eternity, I will be in a place where I won't ever have to say goodbye to anyone ever again!

5 comments:

Shilo said...

Oh, the East Gate...I love that. A big hug to you as you grieve your losses and yet strive to live with hope!

Anonymous said...

Tear...I can only imagine how hard it is to say goodbye! It happens for you all to often. I am praying you through these rough patches on earth until we can rejoice in heaven together!! I love you Bee!! Deb

Victor said...

The "East" gate comment was interesting as going or heading "east" is a theme in the Bible (specifically Genesis).

I'm glad you continue to put your heart out there. I felt that in South Africa. With so many people who go through for a short time, a lot of the exchange students didn't get invested in because people were tired of the vulnerability and getting hurt when saying goodbye. So I made sure to invest in them because I know EXACTLY what it's like to be a sojourner or a stranger in a foreign land. And exactly what people don't want to do (befriend) is exactly what you need. :-) So glad you are continuing in it.

I would say that there is a bit of God in the margins, in the relationships, and in the goodbyes. That's the kingdom (I prefer the word community) you're already experiencing.

Deb McConnell said...

You know I HATE SAYING GOODBYE....I have even been known to "shy away" from building relationships with people because it hurts too much to say goodbye...BUT...in reading your post, I have a new perspective that has given me a lot to think about. Bee, you really should become an author...you have a way with words that causes people to stop and think. I am going to keep this quote below from you and save it to memory - I know it will help me get through the tough "goodbyes" - Thank you sweet friend! I love you!

"And yet, I pick myself up off the floor, and realise that my hope is not in my relationships with others here on this earth. My home is not here. I am just here for a short while and then I will be home forever with the One who turns my mourning into dancing... weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning! So, I continue to put my heart out there, and say goodbye well, knowing that it is all a part of the process of living here in this fallen world. And I know that one day, not too far off in the light of eternity, I will be in a place where I won't ever have to say goodbye to anyone ever again!"

Belinda Chaplin said...

Thanks Deb. I appreciate your comments on my writing :) :) :)
I am also trying to get better at saying goodbye. And also at building relationships rather than shying away... I am glad that this gave you a new perspective! Bless you!

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