24 May 2015

Numbness Makes for Badbyes

It's that bittersweet season of goodbyes. I'm losing friends again, and that familiar ache has crept back over my heart. Like a sunburn after a spectacular day at the beach, was it worth the pain? With the memories breaking a smile through the red-hot sadness, I say a resolute "yes." Still, a numbness threatens me.

Isn't it easier to block out what's happening? These tears, these hard-to-process thoughts, these awkward heart-to-heart conversations--can't I just ignore them all, push them aside, even combat them with "it's better this way" mumbo-jumbo?

As my puffy eyes fought for sleep last night, I realized that, although I've been staying for years, I did leave something recently. And the truth I learned in that may help me through what hurt burns now. Maybe tears will be my aloe vera.

We moved apartments this spring. The change was significant enough to cause some upheaval in my soul. We stayed in the same neighborhood (just moved down the street really), but I stood for a long time in my home before putting the first item in the first cardboard box--

my eyes taking snapshots of where we'd made so many memories,
my nose inhaling what familiarity it could store away,
my ears taking in the noises it had tuned out as background music,
and my hands gently brushing the arrangement of our things neatly settled, comfortably nestled.

I loved our home, but it was time to say goodbye.

Then subconsciously, I started doing something I didn't intend to. While packing up all our belongings, I started counting all the things I didn't like about our home. I even went as far as to say, "I guess I didn't like this place that much. Good thing we're moving!" Until--that lie smacked me hard. What am I doing? This is the home I love! Do I really need to hate what I'm losing in order to process the change? 

No! The callous I had built around my heart was actually harmful. I was turning my goodbye into a "badbye."

I could love the home I was leaving and still appreciate the home we were gaining. There is no law of either/or. I could love both! It wasn't necessary to numb out the good or to avoid the goodbye. In fact, the mourning was good too.

And Jesus didn't avoid mourning. Our greatest Example wept too. When Lazarus died, Jesus didn't block out the pain with rationale; he embraced it with tears. When He looked over Jerusalem and predicted its downfall, He didn't push the sadness back on them as their problem, He took the pain to His own heart and wept.

So while it may seem easier to avoid the awful, lip-quivering goodbyes of June, it's not healthy, it's not truthful, and it's not Christlike. With courage and a box of tissues, we need to lean into each other, speak of the beauty, and look forward with hope instead of despair. In His time, Jesus will redeem all that is broken, and that includes our hearts.

Abide in Him,

How do you say goodbye? Do you allow yourself to weep?

To read more about "Leaving," join the conversation on Velvet Ashes' The Grove.

Related articles you may also appreciate:
Deep Friendships Are Worth Hard Goodbyes
Unpack Your China Shepherdess
Don't Pray for Safety

1 comment:

  1. I struggle with numbing myself - partly because it seems easier, and partly because in the throes of packing (always in a rush!) I'm afraid that if I allow myself to stop and grieve, I won't be able to come back from it and I won't get packed. (Packing isn't one of my strengths). Numbing myself can be the only way I wade through, and I have to at times, but I'm learning that I can't leave it there. (Little too easy to stay in that place when i get there.)


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