Good-byes aren’t easy. They can be painful, uncomfortable, challenging.
Or convenient, timely and welcomed.
This last weekend, I was feeling the former. My team had come to the end of our time with this group of people we’ve worked with for the past ten months. Folks we’ve gotten to know quickly and well. Those with whom we dove into relationships with abandon and intent.
Some of these folks will be staying on in Orlando, finding good fits for next steps here. Others will be moving away. Some far, far away.
I’m going to miss a lot of people.
I know. Technology has made the world smaller. More accessible. I could easily Skype or become part of a Google hangout. Or text, email, Instagram or connect in some other electronically enabled way.
There’s something, however, about sitting across from someone, over a cup of coffee, looking them in the eye and having a sense of where they really are in the moment. Having them ask the questions of how I’m doing or what I’m feeling.
I can’t “sad face” my way through a tough conversation when all I want to do is hug someone. I can’t “happy face” another person when I want to celebrate with them and scream with joy, jumping up and down like a chicken with it’s head cut off. (Yes, I’ve been known to do that. I’m also aware that a headless chicken has no idea where it’s going and little time to get there. Hence the picture of a frenetic expression of happiness.)
I enjoy being present with people. I touch arms. Punch shoulders. Hug spontaneously.
You might call me a tad effusive.
Saying good-bye was hard.
Real friendship doesn’t end with a change of geography. With many of these wonderful people, once we see each other again, we’ll pick up where we left off. Heart connections are strong.
It does mean that I’ll have to be intentional to stay in touch. To make time to communicate. To find opportunities to connect.
At our final retreat of the year, we ended, quite appropriately, with a Tacky Prom. Folks dressing with no nod to fashion or style. More an embracing of the silliness of a four-year-old who chooses to pick out his own clothes.
Totally tasteless. Immensely fun.
Laughter eases the stress of good-byes. Fun allows a gentle segue into leaving.
Friends matter. Relationships are important. We become better people because of those who leave indelible marks on our hearts.
Solomon said, “A friend loves at all times.” No qualifiers. Nothing about convenience. Whole-hearted commitment.
God made us to need friends. Those who speak love and truth and grace into our lives. Those who add to our lives just by being.
What kind of friend am I choosing to be? The one who commits when it’s easy and convenient? Or the one who counts the cost of working at relationships?
What kind of friend do you think you are?