I’m sitting here on my bed, surrounded by boxes of clothing, decorating supplies and memories, slowly being placed ever so carefully in their cardboard homes as we prepare to journey over one thousand miles to our new destination.
This week has seemed to be filled with many “lasts”. Last day of work. Last church service with my family. Last time visiting with some of the friends I have made in this small town that has been my home for over twenty years.
I’m looking around trying to figure out how to pack everything I love into these few small boxes that aren’t even big enough to hold all my garage sale treasures in the form of clothing and shoes. ;-) And I realized I shouldn’t want to pack everything up. Because not everything can be packed up. The memories, the smiles, the times of laughter and joy, the hugs and kisses can’t be measure d in what does and doesn’t fit inside a box or a 4x6 frame, though those things can be important for remembering these special events.
But sometimes you don’t realize what you had/have until you start packing and saying good bye. Like the lives you’ve touched. The hearts that have been blessed just by you being available and there. It’s not always easy being in those positions, but God has us there for a purpose and a time and a place. As I packed up my office this last Friday and put everything into one lone paper box, put it in my car and drove home through the dark, I wondered, who will show these people Jesus? The sick and elderly, the young and worried that come through those clinic doors…who will show them the love of God?
And I realized, how much I’ll miss that. Sure, I’ll be blessed to share Jesus with the people I interact with in my new job, but these lives have touched mine, just as much as I have touched theirs. Our journey together might have ended, but God is still looking after His children, just as much as He’s looking after me.
Sometimes we don’t realize what is important to us until it’s time to say goodbye. I did not realize how important that part of my job was to me. There might have been more times of struggle then there were of joy, but every single one of those moments was a learning experience—a stepping stone onto a forward path. A journey of learning and growth and a chance to show the love of Jesus to someone who needed it.
Goodbye became harder than I expected. But what part of change, of growth is going to be 100% easy? I won’t be packing everything into a box this week and shoving it into the back of my Explorer for the long drive. I won’t be able to hold everything I want to between these two fists. But what I will be able to do is walk forward with all the experiences, all the reminders, all the memories of what God has done here, in me and the lives of those who have touched mine, backing my every step.