Lasts

I feel pressure to write an extremely moving, sentimental, and wide-sweeping last Nebraska post. However, I’m not sure my mind and heart can get there quite yet. Everything just feels like it’s not actually happening. I think my emotions are simply shocked into paralysis. The fact is, my last morning as a resident of Nebraska doesn’t feel as epic as it sounds. Maybe I’m back to my poor stale self.

Our Week of Lasts has come to a close. Last dinners with friends, last music rehearsal, last play date, last family night, last date night, last church, and last goodbyes. I should be able to spew out fountain-loads of teary reflections and gut-wrenching thank yous. The lasts were sad. I cried. I was moved beyond belief.

But now, sitting here trying to write it all down, feels overwhelmingly impossible. How can I begin to write about 10 years of life-giving friendships, mentorships, and relationships at our beloved church? How can I find words adequate to express my feelings for my 29 years of being my Nebraska-born, parents’ daughter and 10 years of being my in-laws’ daughter-in-law? I just can’t. 

I can write about the small moments, but this one feels too beastly. As soon as I think of a good idea to reminisce about, it becomes flooded with about a million more examples of my love and adoration for my life here. Everything in my mind loses itself to each other in a jumbled mess of goodbye-blahs.

I have never liked goodbyes. I know everyone says that. It’s true. You never hear anyone exclaim, “I love goodbyes!” I remember countless times in high school, when a season of some sort (basketball, band, a musical, etc.) would end, and all the teens sob their eyeballs out as if the world had ended. And me? Well, I could never get there with them. To be honest, I never lamented when anything ended, no matter how much I loved the extracurricular. I actually like the close of a chapter. For me, an end explodes with opportunities for a new rhythm, new pace, and new adventure. So… maybe… I actually do like goodbyes! Oh snap… I didn’t think I would get there!

Maybe I don’t like goodbyes, because I actually DO like goodbyes, but can’t admit it, because that’s weird. Maybe my discomfort toward goodbyes isn’t the actual saying “goodbye” like I originally thought. Instead, maybe I am uncomfortable that my emotions don’t seem to match those of the people around me. And that makes me feel like I’m doing or feeling something wrong.

My friend came up to me Sunday morning and asked, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how emotional was your morning?”

“Er… Uh… Hmmm?” I began contemplating the events of the morning. I did cry multiple times. When people who meant much to me came and told me how much I had meant to them, a stream of good, hot tears came forth. Sadness and appreciation overflowed. But although my morning was filled with tears, for some reason, it wasn’t filled with continual, heartbreaking sorrow. Same goes for my whole week. I was sad a lot, but the sadness came in spurts, rather than lingering, drawn-out, depressing gloom.

To be honest, the most sad I felt the whole week was when I was talking with my pregnant friend who found out her little baby has major birth complications. That was a 10 out of 10. My heart broke in unrepairable sadness for her woe. And still does. That sorrow does not fade.

I will miss our church and family exponentially. There is something inside of me, however, that’s like, “We are only 6 hours away…” The thought keeps creeping up, trumping my glum. We will be back. Lots. Maybe I have this glass-half-full spirit about me that lures my emotions toward positivity? I suppose the question I am battling with in my heart is, “Does the intensity of my goodbye emotions match the value of the people I am leaving?” And to that, I would say, “No!” The impact of our church on who I am, far outweighs the emotions I felt on Sunday morning. I recognize that I maybe should be much more emotional. But is it wrong to be a glass-half-full person? And truly, when it comes down to it, Christians know that you never really say goodbye to fellow Christians. Every Christian goodbye, either by location or death, is in reality a hopeful, “See you soon, when Christ returns!”

There it goes… my glass-half-full thinking…

Instead of feeling loss, I think I am feeling overwhelming appreciation. Bobby and I have been blessed. God has shown us this week a climax of his pure kindness toward us in Nebraska. I never had any right to ever complain. Our last goodbyes are teaching us. We are letting our “lasts” counsel us. The lesson we are learning is to “Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” (Psalm 100:2).

When my kind brother gave us a road trip gift for our kids, my mother-in-law said, “You are so loved.”

Oh, how true that is! How loved we are, and how loved we have felt. Tears are intermingled with laughter, sorrow is mixed in with love, and memories tangled with reflections. How can I conclude such a week as this? 

“For the LORD is good; His loving kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)

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