Intersections: Gratitude and Goodbyes

     Goodbyes are the worst. It’s like that feeling when your favorite book, television show, or movie ends. Except instead of fictional characters you have grown attached to, it is the real stories and souls around you that you have to part with. At the same time, goodbyes are somewhat of a gift in disguise. This is because they are reminders in several ways:

  1. You realize just how incredible it has been having certain people in your life, in all the different ways they have encourage, supported, and contributed to your life.
  2. You are reminded to appreciate your current surroundings more. As I have heard it put: Tomorrow is not promised, love people well.
  3. Your perspective is shifted back to forever. Seeing others transition to new addresses, homes, cities, and communities- or walking through that yourself – is a clear picture that this world is not our home. One day, goodbyes will no longer exist. That’s pretty incredible to consider. And a hope on the hard days.
  4. Your soul carries the richness of the past season with you into the brand new one. It is a collision of the best of both worlds.

     A few Saturdays ago, I was sitting in the same seats that 17 months ago some of my closest friends and family occupied. The last time I was in this building, I was in my own season of transitions, trying my best to soak it in, because I knew down the road that weekend would seem like a blur. I was right. Graduation seems far removed from life today. Now a college sophomore, I have seen many of those hopes and fears I had during that weekend play out. I’ve been surprised quite a few times by twists in the storyline, and been nothing short of amazed by the way this story has been written so far. Sitting in the audience this time for a whole different kind of event, I couldn’t help but see these flashbacks and contemplate on the faithfulness of the One who is orchestrating every detail in every chapter.

     That Saturday, and that weekend in general, life mixed together. Intersections. The reason for being back at the graduation venue- a lovely wedding that painted a beautiful picture of Christ and the church, such a celebration of God’s faithfulness in two lives. That same afternoon, goodbyes to dear friends amidst the bubbles from the wedding filling the air. All throughout that day, the rush of memories of joyous celebration and bittersweet endings of graduation week. The next morning, yet another goodbye.

      With all the events of the weekend, one thing really stood out to me. Seasons of life are hard to comprehend sometimes when we are right in the midst of them. Blinded by the colors of life in the moment, we cannot begin to imagine or paint a picture of the coming scenes. But there is One who is perfectly putting together all the details, the bitter and the sweet. He has blessed me with a richness of community, opportunities, and adventures. For the past, I have the treasure of memories and experiences. For the present, I want to live in this truth of all that I have been blessed by with everything I have. For the future, I have a sure hope that one day endings and goodbyes will be no more, and reunions will happen at some point. May we all continue to recognize the beauty present in every aspect of our lives in every season and keep embracing to the fullest all we are surrounded with. May we accept change and goodbyes as a part of life, while living in gratitude for the community around us at every step.

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