I’d Rather Not Say Goodbye

I’d rather not say goodbye.

Even though saying goodbye is normal.

In 2001, when I went with my brother to Miracle Mountain Ranch for a week of summer camp, my life changed forever. For the next nine years, my summers were a fast-spinning montage of strong friendships bonded in the forge of being summer camp staff, followed by tearful goodbyes.

Sometimes the “Ranch” felt more like home than home.

Sometimes my friends and mentors at camp felt more like family than family.

So at the start of every summer, I said goodbye to Indiana, and hello to Pennsylvania. And at the end of the summer, I said goodbye to Pennsylvania in order to go back to Indiana. When I finally returned to Indiana more permanently after two full years at the Miracle Mountain Ranch School of Discipleship, I spent three long years finding my place, only to move to Tanzania nearly as soon as Indiana felt like home. Now its time to say goodbye once again as students, staff, and friends leave–some only for the holidays, others permanently. I too am preparing to return to Indiana for a month to visit home, family, and friends.

Sometimes though, Tanzania feels more like home than Indiana.

Sometimes I fear whether my friends in Indiana will still be the friends that made it feel like home.

I wonder sometimes if all the goodbyes throughout my teenage years was part of God’s preparation for me to live in a place where relationships tend to be very transient. Expatriates come and go constantly. Friendships too, come and go. It is part of life as an expat. But even so, when the goodbyes begin, when people start hugging and crying and sharing last minute memories, I just want to leave. I hide behind my camera, or in my office. I slip out of the back of the room, escaping the emotion of the moment. Its not just at the big events, either. Even at house parties during the year, when its just goodbye for the night, or until next weekend, I prefer to slip away unnoticed. Because I’d rather not say goodbye. Some people say that they “hate” goodbyes, but I just avoid them.

Years of saying goodbye has taught me that it is easier to just not say it at all.

So for those who come and go from my life, know that you are loved–even if I don’t say goodbye.

Instead, I’ll see you later. Somewhere, sometime. Peace.

Until next time…

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Jan Sasser says:

    You make me think of these lyrics:

    This world is not my home I’m just a passing through
    My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
    The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
    And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore
    Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you
    If heaven’s not my home then Lord what will I do
    The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
    And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

  2. Totally something I can relate to…the desire to just slip out unnoticed, instead of giving in to all the emotion that saying goodbye brings. I always like to think, maybe we’ll cross paths again some time. Such a bittersweet time you are living through right now, it sounds like.

  3. Dawn Boyer says:

    I can relate so well to your heart here, goodbye is so hard. I love the last word you wrote… peace. It makes me think of the Hebraic blessing, shalom and how it is used to both greet and salute friends. My son was just telling me that he loved the word, Shalom/peace. I think that is a great way to dispense a proper ending with a blessing.. Peace. 🙂

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