“You say goodbye, and I say hello . . .” ~Paul McCartney~
On Sunday I told my friend who is getting ready to move that I have chosen the Beatles song “Hello Goodbye” as my theme song for this summer—right in front of a gal who just moved here from Missouri, the state I’ve lived in more years than any other.
It was an appropriate dichotomy, sitting there after church near my friend of two years and a new friend I just met today–two old friends themselves.
This summer is one of transition, as our military chapel community says goodbye to more than half our chaplains, and welcomes chaplains and staff moving in. Not only does my husband’s work team change, so too does my circle of friends.
Is it harder to stay, or harder to leave? I’m really not sure. I’m also not really sure it matters in the long run, because we’re usually doing one or the other.
When you are the one leaving, the feelings of loss are often overshadowed by feelings of anticipation and excitement over arriving at the new location. When you’re the one arriving, feelings of fear might trump the anticipation and joy of the new location. And when you’re the one staying put, you might even think you’re feeling a bit stuck.
We are called to go, and to stay. We are called to say hello, and goodbye (or “see you later”). If I believe—and I do—that God is with me wherever I go (Joshua 1:9), then I must believe the same truth for my friends, whether or not we ever see each other again this side of Eternity.
When it is our family’s turn to say goodbye to one location and hello to another, may I remember in the chaos of transition it’s not whether I stay or go, whether I feel stuck or uprooted, but whether my heart is firmly planted in the word of God and faith in Christ (Psalm 1:3).
Pattie is the proud wife of an Air Force chaplain, mom of two teenage girls, web content editor for Wives of Faith (www.wivesoffaith.org), a community co-leader for (in)courage (www.incourage.me), active in her installation’s PWOC, and a college English instructor. She and her family make their home in south central Alaska.
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