Making your goodbyes really good
Have you moved house recently? Or changed schools? Or church? How are you settling in?
God knows all about moving and change. Most of the key people in the Old Testament had big changes in their lives. Abraham moved from Ur to an unknown land. Jacob ran away from home. Joseph was sold as a slave off to Egypt. Moses fled Egypt to the desert. Ruth moved from Moab to Israel. The list goes on.
My younger brother has a moving bug. Up until the age of 33 he could count a different house for every year of his life. That's 33 beds in 33 years. He loves it.
I'm the opposite. I'm still not used to it, even after doing it in a big way at least 16 times in my life! I feel disrupted, unrooted and cranky when I move. Wherever you are on the spectrum between me and my brother, moving takes energy and know-how to do it well.
There are two parts to moving, saying goodbye and saying hello.
Personally I'm terrible at saying goodbye. My usual technique is to get stressed packing up and to put all my energy into the physical details of moving. I pretend I'm not going to miss people and say only quick, meaningless goodbyes. Unfortunately, I get to the new situation and feel terribly depressed for the next six months.
A friend of mine does it much better. Her process takes time and thought and starts at least two weeks before she leaves anywhere. Here's how she does it:
1) First of all she thinks about it. What groups did she find a sense of belonging in while in this place?
2) Next she lists the individuals who were close to her or who she would personally like to encourage before she leaves. She then finds ways to tell them how much she appreciated that care and enjoyed their friendship. She sends cards, notes, photos or gifts or just takes them out for coffee.
3) The next step is to keep a database and get her friends’ contact details. She also gives friends a chance to give her a farewell message too -- by writing on a T-shirt, a teddy bear or in a notebook. Then she grabs the camera and takes pictures of the special people and places she loves.
Saying goodbye can be emotional. She gives hugs and sometimes will cry. Finally she remembers that goodbye is short for "God be with you". She prays and commits her friends’ lives to God.
If you’re about to move, make your goodbyes important. It makes it a lot easier to say ‘hello’ in the next place.
Study up: Check out these farewells in the Bible. Genesis 31: 26-28. What was the problem with these people leaving? Acts 20:36-38. How did the people say a good goodbye to Paul?