Monday, March 8

Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye is something I have unfortunately had to face and think about a lot this year. In doing so, I finally come to realize what everyone means when they say they hate goodbyes, or that goodbyes are so hard. I guess I always knew that but I never really had to so goodbye so much or in such drastic situations until very recently and now it is as if it is all coming at me at once. I mean growing up there was always the goodbye when you left for vacation and then again when you left to go back home and yes those were especially hard coming back from our beach houses when I was little and they where so huge and exciting, I never wanted to go home. There was also the goodbyes we said when going to school or going to a friends house, but I always knew my parents would be back and most likely a whole lot quicker than I wanted them too. Then there was saying goodbye to my friends this I admit was a little harder but I always knew it was only very temporary. Even when I moved several times although I hated it, there really was no really feeling of goodbye for me none that seemed like I was missing something I wasn't moving very far and I knew my friends are just a drive or a phone call away. As I grew up many of my friends and I then parted ways but there where still no goodbyes we just kinda gradually drifted to the point that when it came time for me to move I really had nothing to say goodbye to and was frankly happy to be leaving. Yeah up until my senior year of high school I had never had to say any real goodbyes. I had never had a boy friend so there was no one to have to break up with, I never moved very far or lost any of my close friends, apart from one in fifth grade but it was not all that traumatic and least that I can recall, I never had anyone really close to me die there was my great Aunt but mostly I just remembered her from Christmas gatherings and had not really known her neither did I really know my great grandpa when he die when I was really young, nor would I have understood all that well. So in many ways I can most assuredly say I had a very blessed childhood free of the bad kind of goodbyes. Back then a goodbye was simply what you said at the end of the day or at the end of a phone call to someone you would likely see the next day or in a few hours.
Looking back it really seems as if things were so much simpler back then and I was so naive to what would soon come. Now as a senior after four years at Houghton I have had to experience a lot more goodbyes that were not nearly as easy as ending a conversation. And if there has been one thing I have learned in the process it is that goodbyes make you think, they make you realize what you've had, what you've lost and what you've taken for granted. My journey to experience what it really means to have to say goodbye began in the summer of 2006. First I had to say goodbye to High school and everyone there. This for me was not all that hard as I had never really fit in all that well anyways but it was still a goodbye for me as it meant that I was soon to leave home and begin the next chapter of my live no longer having the comforts of a High School to go to but rather would have to go to college. Yet before venturing off I had to say goodbye to my parents and loved ones and my country as I ventured off on my first missions trip to Guyana South America, of course I had been on many retreats before but this was the longest I had ever been away from home and certainly a lot farther than I had ever been. It wasn't too hard for me to say goodbye but I know it was for much of my family terrified of what might happen. But what was really hard was saying goodbye when it came time to come home. During my time in Guyana I had fallen in love with everyone there and felt so at home and so much a part of them as if I belonged there and it was heart breaking to have to go and leave all of those kids and everyone we meet behind as well as having to leave my new found home land beyond. Lets just say that was the longest flight I will every have experienced as I kept hoping that somehow we would turn around and just be stuck there forever. This was my first time experiencing what it felt like to have to say goodbye. Nothing could have been worse I cried for a long time and really longed to go back and made it my goal, but it was still possible to go back so that made the goodbye so much easier and I could still write and I did write and call on rare occasions and it made that goodbye not so bad.

But then 5 days after returning I had to face the biggest goodbye of my life going to college where I would spend the next four years and leaving my home and family behind. Granted there was a part of me that was very excited about this prospect but a even bigger part of me was terrified. Up until Guyana I was always very reserved and very rarely did anything a part from my family and I had no idea what I would do with out then being there 24 seven and worse yet my mom was losing it as I was her first and she was not at all prepared to see me go. So that was really hard but nothing really like a goodbye with no hope as there was still all the Hellos to look forward too all the people I would meet and there was at least some excitement and hope of what was to come for me. So no I still had not experienced my first goodbye. And then came college life where I soon would have to learn a new kind of goodbye where my friends would move and transfer one by one begging with my roommate Holly, then Tali, and Rissia and Allision, and many others. Saying goodbye was always hard especially when I would come back the next semester and see them gone. There were also all my senior friends that would graduate and move on which was always really hard. There were also those that moved away from back home and my bosses that would have to move as well, which was always sad. Yet on the brighter side it was always some what expected and we were just an e-mail, facebook message, im, drive, or phone call away. So that too although hard was nothing I couldn't handle.
Then came the challenge the goodbye no one ever wants to make within a week of the last summer two of my friends were killed in accidents. Although they were not my closest friends I did know them well and it really came to a shock to me how friends my age could be dying and I was not at all prepared to say goodbye to them or let them out of my life. It was then that I hard to learn first of all the reality of death and that I needed to get my life together as I may end up like them but more so that I may not have forever with those I love so it was time I put them and treated them and did all the things I wish I could with them now will I still could. I also learned that good-byes will always hurt, pictures can never replace being there, memories forget the hard times, words can never replace feelings, and heroes often go unsung. Perhaps it is that some people just aren't meant to be in our lives forever. Maybe some people are just passing through. Its like some people just come through our lives to bring us something: a gift, a blessing, a lesson we need to learn, and that's why they're here. It is so hard to think like this and in this positive light when you have lost someone or had to say goodbye. But now I know I will always have the gift that the people I have had to say goodbye to have brought into my life and I will never give that up. I am so grateful for all those that have been a part of my life and although I wish I could have more time and maybe still can I will never forget the gift and the good times I have had. One of my favorite quotes is that "You never leave someone behind, you take a part of them with you and leave a part of yourself behind." I have found this to be so true for all the hard goodbyes I have had to make as I have left some of me behind but carried some of them with me.

Perhaps and even harder goodbye came for me this January as I had to say goodbye to my first love who I had thought I was to marry my now ex fiancee, Pat. Break-ups as I hear are never easy and mine sure was not an exception. It was the messiest and hardest thing I ever have had to do and I have to do it just a bout a million times everyday. What is hardest is not saying goodbye to the hope of our future and the dream of our wedding and our family and our house and all of that which hurts so much and is so hard to say goodbye too. But what is hardest is having to say goodbye to my best friend on top of all of that and having to lose him and no longer have anyone to talk to all through the night no longer have someone to call crying about my bad day. Pat was that for me I have never really had that with anyone else so it is so hard to have to say goodbye to someone I love so much and someone I shared every one of my deepest darkest secrets too. In was then I realized how hard goodbyes are and how much I can hate them. It is a if when you say goodbye that you forget to tell your heart how to live without them. Or at least that is something I am still trying to learn. I have learned to laugh and I sure have learned to cry but I donno that I will ever master the art of saying goodbye.

As graduation lurks around the corner I hate to face it but there is bound to be many many more goodbyes of so many awesome friends and of Houghton which as much as I may hate to admit I will surely surely miss especially when the bills start piling up and I am out on the street with no friends and no job. Well hopefully that won't happen but I am in many ways dreading graduation as much as I am longing to be done. As so many of those I have come to love will be moving on getting married and living there own lives and moving far away that although we may promise to keep in touch I know it will never quite be the same. I am so sad to see it all come to a close and it is so saddening to think of all the things I will miss all the mouse noises late at night the fact that our celling is caving in, the trips to Letchworth Pines, Angelica, the Maple Tree Inn and the truck stop. Yes I know I will miss it all the fact that McDonald's or Walmart are over a half hour a way and that it is freezing all year round, and chapels and yes even the crazy freshman couples. I will miss it I know. But more importantly I will miss all my friends all the late nights all the laughs, all the crazy parting, oh yeah I will miss all our talks all our laughs and memories. But this time as I say goodbye I am going to take what I have had to learn over my last four years with me. And that is saying goodbye is so much easier when you find the good in it. There is aways something good in it. I know that my time here at Houghton and my time with each and everyone here was a tremendous and incredible gift that I will take with me and cherish forever. And I am so grateful for me. I have also learned in saying goodbye that God knows best and that he has something far greater in mind for me and that this is only a small part of the picture and that there is so much more to say hello to and be exacted for what is to come rather than saddened by what has come to pass.

In closing I want you all to know that there is no need to be dismayed at goodbyes, for goodbyes although they never feel good they are in fact necessary before we can meet again and meeting again, after moments or a lifetime if it be, is certain worth it for the chance to say Hello again. Know that with every goodbye God will offer a new Hello. So Hello world it is good too meet you and it will surly be exciting what else you have in store. Although I will always miss that which I have had to and will have to say goodbye to I will always be grateful to know I have things to say goodbye to and even better things too say Hello too.

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