Friday, December 28, 2012
This Good Bye Will be Different
My church has always been what I considered a "sending" church. It seems we always have great people for a season of time and then they are sent out to serve. It is cool to know all of these people over the years who have moved throughout the country to serve in a different capacity or become missionaries. And it's also always been hard to see them go.
In only a few days' time, my church and my family will say good-bye to our current Pastor and his family, as they move back to their home state after about twenty years of serving in the military and/or church in other states, about seven or so of those years with us in Ohio. They are excited and we are excited for them, as it has long been a dream to live near their families again. However, it's bittersweet to see them go.
Pastor Jason and his wife Frances came into our lives at a time when my husband and I were just opening up to the idea of getting to know people. They treated us like family and through that showed us what friendship truly entails. They brought very different perspectives on long held beliefs into our lives, teaching us to examine and reflect on topics ourselves, being transparent about themselves and their experiences. It wasn't always rainbows and butterflies between us, we had our rough times as we changed personally and as we all learned what it meant to live life with each other. Even in the hard times I feel we grew and learned so much about who we are and what it means to be with other people in this life.
When someone comes into your life and makes a huge difference, it's hard to fathom going back or being without them. Of course, there's also the matter of finding someone or something in the right place at the right time. All of this comes together to make a difficult good-bye.
People tend to measure friendship through contact, words exchanged, events experienced, etc. And while these are all signs of friendship (who after all wants a friend who never tries to engage with you?), I've come to realize that a strong friendship can endure distance. I will even venture to say that distance can make a good friendship better. Perhaps because there is a deeper connection at work. Who knows? I've not experienced it yet, but I feel peace about the thought and the reassurance Jason and his family have given of this being their experience over their years of moving.
Memories are abundant. (Heck, I have three or four of Frances's Filipino recipes that will recall memories every time we prepare them...let alone the bigger memories.) And with texting and FB we will keep in touch without a doubt. I'm sure future plans for visits will come about. But for now, this piece of our time together is over and it will stand as a turning point in our lives. We will all purposely take what we've learned from and through each other and move forward into other relationships and situations, hopefully touching and influencing lives as ours have been. In these ways, this good bye will be different.
God bless you Jason and Frances, and your children Kylie, Melina, and Caleb (and your new son-in-law Parker too), as you follow His lead in this new adventure. We feel at times you were brought to crazy Ohio just for us, so thank you for obeying the call. You will be missed and there aren't exactly words to say it, except that, as you've always told us, this isn't really good bye.