Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Blessing of Goodbyes

When was the last time you told a good friend or co-worker how much they mean to you? Or told them the impact they have made on your world? I know if it weren't for the crazy life we live, I wouldn't have a ready answer for those questions. But such is the expat life.

Last night, we said goodbye to a couple we've known literally since the minute we stepped into China (actually even before!). They have lived here for 25 years. The way they have lived amazes us. I know few people who live with such attitudes of faith, perseverance and optimism in the face of great difficulties.

Our office gathered to say goodbye to them, and I was able to share a brief history of their time here, concluding with the impact they have had on me personally. Afterwards, others stood and shared stories and encouragement from their own interaction with them. It put us all in a mood to continue not only sharing about our friends, but affirming our love for each other. Yeah, it was a great big love fest.

These moments wring my heart. It feels like a piece of the fabric of our lives is being ripped out. How do you fill that hole again? On the other hand, it gives us the opportunity to tell them how much that part of our tapestry has meant to us, how beautiful they have made life. As difficult as it is to say goodbye, I'm grateful that it brings to the surface all the things we truly feel but don't often say.

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