Saying Goodbye

One of the most difficult things about living in a transient missionary community, especially one halfway around the world, is having to say goodbye. There are moments where I feel so alone. I desire a close friend, one I can share my feelings and thoughts with. Someone who will laugh and cry with me.

I have experienced this a number of times while living here. It takes a lot out of a missionary to invest in someone. Missionaries were created for personal investment into lives of others. That doesn’t necessarily make it easy.

After being gone for six months in the states, Alan and I returned to many new faces. Some of the faces we became accustomed to have left – for good or for a short time. But we all know, that no matter how long a person says they are going for, you must say a final goodbye, if not to their face then in your heart. Because there are no certainties.

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Many people say the world of missions is small. I can’t tell you how many times I have run into someone who knows a friend of mine who served in Colombia or in Papua New Guinea. “What a small world,” we both say.

Small as it is, it still strikes deep when a friend departs. When you are a left behind.

My friends in the states have expressed their dislike for being “left behind”. They say, the person leaving is so excited about their new adventure and the person left behind still has their same old life and their same old tasks – only now, it lacks their friend.

We feel it here too.

A part of my heart remains with that person. As much as I know it’s important for me to invest in new relationships it gets harder and harder to do so. How much of your heart can you give away before it doesn’t function anymore? But it’s not like that, is it. God wants us to love on others, to be vulnerable…to build relationships.

So I will pray again for a friend. She will never replace the one I have lost. In the past He has always answered… in His good timing.

4 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye

  1. I hear you! As you choose the positive position of developing new close friends, you develop a rich heritage of friends around the world. Besides the hole or empty spot left in the parting, you will also find a mosaic of richness left there by their words, personality, and character–you will never be the same.

  2. Beautifully expressed. Am praying for great new friend. Love, Emily

    Sent from my iPhone

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  3. Amanda:) Oh, how I totally understand this. I also live in transient community here in China. As I read this, it was a huge encouragement and reminder to me as I am in the process of saying good bye..again. This time to some people who are close to me and it just makes it much harder. I love the part where you said “A part of my heart remains with that person….So I will pray again for a friend. She will never replace the one I have lost.” Needed that reminder as I say good bye to those I have come close to, but pray for another friend.
    Thanks for this:) Love you and hope you are doing well:)
    Bethany

  4. HEY Bethany! Thanks for the kind reply. Saying good-bye is never easy is it. Alan and I are gradually finding friends here…close friends that is. We started by joining an adult Bible study and started having different families over for dinner and games. We are the only non-child family at the moment (as far as we know) so sometimes feel “out of the loop”. I hope you are well and look forward to running into you again sometime in good ‘ol Waxhaw.

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