To love is to be vulnerable.
You would think that a military kid grows accustomed to goodbyes. You would think they would come natural by now. You would think someone as accustomed to “leaving” as I am would find herself an old pro at bidding farewell.
But, this talent of nonchalant “goodbyes” is not a gift I have ever possessed.
I think there are two options you have when you have moved as much as I have in a short lifetime. You can either, one, keep an emotional distance or detachment from people in your current place of residence, knowing you will not be there for very long, or, two, you can love. And, as C.S. Lewis wrote many years ago, to love is to be vulnerable.
I didn’t want to love when I moved back home last year. I wanted to get out as soon as possible. The Lord constantly reminded me, though I bitterly fought against it, that this was my home now. It might not always be. It most likely wouldn’t always be. However, at this time, for this season, this was my home, and I needed to be all here. He didn’t make a mistake. I was here for a reason, and my heart need not be scattered all over the country or the world. It needed to be here for my good and for His glory.
So, I fought to love. I fought to get involved as best as I could. I fought to make this place my home. I fought to get to know people and to laugh with them and to cry with them. I fought to “be all there”.
And, as a result, I am now facing the problem of the pain of goodbye. A problem I was never expecting to come across.
Next week, I leave for a summer job, and when I return, I will have a couple short weeks until I leave here for good. So, as I finish my time at my current jobs and begin to pack up my life once more, I am feeling the weight of the ever daunting “goodbye”.
Today, as I wrote out a “thank you” card, I felt the first weight of the “goodbye”. Tears fell down my cheeks as I wrote my goodbyes, and my heart ached. C.S. Lewis’ words swam through my mind. I had loved, and now I was paying the price.
It is my nature to grow emotionally attached to people. I always laugh because I know I grow far more emotionally attached to other people than they do to me. And, that’s okay. I feel I can’t help it. But, it makes for miserable goodbyes. Although a great deal of my life has been marked by them, I am terrible with them. And, I do not care for them.
I hope to “belong” somewhere one day. Maybe staying stationary wasn’t in the plan for me, or perhaps it won’t be for a very long time, but, I hope and pray that I will always choose to love, and fight against the hardness, the apathy, and the detachment that often comes when you are always “leaving”. I pray I will always fight to “be all there” wherever I am planted for however short a time it might be. It might be easier not to love, but, “the hard is what makes it great”. I pray I always choose hard things.
I am so thankful for all of you that I have grown to love, or whom I simply loved the moment I saw you. I am thankful for all the ways you have made me laugh and encouraged me. I am so thankful for you being my friend. I am thankful the Lord ordained for our paths to cross. I am who I am at this very moment because of it.
To love is to be vulnerable. It puts your heart out there where it can be broken. But, I’ll take it. I’ll take the puffy red eyes and the tear stained cheeks and the painful ache in my chest over a lifetime of aloofness and perfectly intact makeup.
Thank you for everything. The Lord has been so gracious to me.
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”-Phil 1:3