“Let’s learn the art of good goodbyes.”
“No telling the fights we’d have avoided if we’d just been willing to leave a place God called us from sad instead of waiting til we got mad.” – Beth Moore
The two things I’m going through that are filling up most of my brain space are things that are tricky to write about publicly. One is our experience with leaving our church.
Recently, I had convinced myself that I didn’t know anything worth telling anyone. It’s hard to say for sure, but I think there were hormones involved.
(Narrator: There were, in fact, hormones involved)
Last week, when I was feeling especially low, I sent a voxer message to my friend, Natalie. She told me that what I wrote mattered. She especially appreciated when I shared vulnerably about things no one talks about. I cried because everyone needs a “Natalie”.
So, here I am, talking about the things no one talks about or that maybe I shouldn’t talk about, but will anyway.
Who wants to know what it’s like to leave a church home of almost 6 years? You do? Okay, then.
Short answer: It’s hard.
Long answer: . . . (pull up a chair, this is going to take a couple minutes)
Here are some things that make it challenging to have a “good” goodbye (h/t to Beth Moore for this term)
**Moving on can feel dishonoring to those called to stay.
Last Sunday, our new church had a picnic. There were tables piled high with bags of Fritos and Lays chips, macaroni salads, a dessert table barely able to hold the weight of the carbs and the smell of grilled hamburger in the air. That was expected. What was surprising was that feeling of gratefulness was mixed with sadness.
It felt like home.
I was sad that it felt like home.
It was bittersweet. I want all the good things from all the places we’ve ever been in one place. That would be ideal, right?
It’s hard that we were called to leave while dear friends were called to stay. The art of a good goodbye means respecting that we aren’t all called to the same place at the same time.
In fully embracing a new church home, do I hurt the ones called to stay?
**We have to be okay with leaving things unresolved or unfinished
Being called to a new place means I don’t get to personally see things through to a tidy finish. There are things I miss and things that feel unresolved. The good things that are coming soon in this new season at our old church will be things I don’t get to experience first-hand.
I wonder if it’s okay to mourn that since I voluntarily walked away. I think being willing to admit that this is a real loss is an important part of moving forward in a healthy way.
While thinking through this, I found this statement in an article:
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past decade, it’s this: We miss the lesson when we pick at the thorn… nurse it… bemoan it… curse it. – Ruth Chou Simons
Some of what is unfinished are the things that were painful. I don’t want to miss the lesson and the beauty by fixating on the unfixable things. This is part of the art of a good goodbye.
**Sadness is an uncomfortable emotion
Even in the best of circumstances, there is a sadness in leaving something behind. I don’t think our culture does sadness well. We’re more comfortable moving past it to frustration and anger.
What’s you’re experience with goodbyes? Do you do them well?