I told myself I shouldn’t be sad.
Sure, it’s my last week in England, a place I’ve called home for over a year, I thought. Yes, my dear housemates will soon live thousands of miles away from me, I admitted. But, still, it’s not all that bad. This is a good thing. I repeated to myself: Things will just get better from here.
My housemates and I helped each other clean out our closets, take our mounds of trash to the dumpster, decide which mugs to leave in the student kitchen and which to cram in our suitcases.
We stuffed all our belongings in suitcases. In those last days of grad school, we laughed and reminisced and avoided the inevitable.
I told myself it would be okay. But I found myself crying at unexpected moments: seeing my housemates’ hair on the bathroom sink, hearing them chatting in the hallway, sitting with them during a pizza and movie night. I couldn’t accept the fact that it was all ending so soon.
Feeling the Loss in Endings
Growing up, I was always the person in my friend group to see the silver lining.
Caught outside in a rainstorm? We can jump in the puddles!
Stuck in traffic on the way to a restaurant? We can jam out to some music!
Too cold to go outside? Let’s stay inside and have a bake-off!
I delivered chin-up speeches, transformed boring situations into adventures, and distracted everyone from disappointment. In doing so, I developed the tendency to suffocate my feelings. I told myself that being sad was a form of defeat, that missed opportunities were blessings in disguise, and that endings were just openings for new beginnings.
And, while some of that might be true, that doesn’t make saying goodbye any easier. Once I allowed myself to acknowledge my feelings, I was able to cry with my friends. And I was able to say, Lord, this is hard, and I don’t see the silver lining in this ending. But I trust you.
Are you saying goodbye to a person, a home, or a cherished time in your life today? Perhaps you’re getting ready for a cross-country move. Maybe you’re dealing with the loneliness of an empty nest. Or perhaps you’re picking up the pieces after a breakup.
Whatever it is you’re saying goodbye to, it’s hard to face those emotions. It’s difficult to reckon with loss. Allow yourself to feel all the mixed emotions that might come with that loss. Rememeber that God is with you. Jesus sits with you in your sorrow—even when all you can do is sit in silence. If you’re facing the grief of saying goodbye, take a few moments to rest in these truths from God’s Word:
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4-5 (CEV)
Everything on earth
has its own time
and its own season.
There is a time
for birth and death,
…for crying and laughing,
weeping and dancing,
… embracing and parting.
Psalm 46:1-3 (CEV)
God is our mighty fortress,
always ready to help
in times of trouble.
And so, we won’t be afraid!
Let the earth tremble
and the mountains tumble
into the deepest sea.
Let the ocean roar and foam,
and its raging waves
shake the mountains.
Proverbs 18:10 (CEV)
The LORD is a mighty tower
where his people can run
Matthew 11:28-29 (CEV)
If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest. Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest.
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