I still remember leaving Brazil. I’d been there for a scant month, but I sobbed as I boarded my flight for Sao Paulo where I would connect to Dallas. I treasured my last look through the window at my friends waving on the other side–would it be the last time I would see them? If I did ever go back, I knew it wouldn’t be the same–not the same time with the same people. It was gone.
I hugged my sister. I teared up, knowing this was the last time–in a matter of moments, we would no longer share the same name, the same room. This was the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. I wasn’t saying goodbye to a person, because I still have her. It was all the years and memories that I had to finally realize belonged to past. They were over. They were gone.
I feel the same way every time I say goodbye to my church family in West Virginia before a break, and every time I hug my siblings before I head back to school. I feel this inner conflict, knowing that to say goodbye to one is to go back to the other. I wish it weren’t this way–I wish that time and space didn’t operate the way they do, that goodbyes didn’t have to happen.
Until then, every goodbye is a reminder to me of a day when i’ll never say goodbye, and a knowledge that there’s one person I never have to say goodbye to. His name is Jesus, and he’s all that gets me through saying goodbye.