Hellos and Goodbyes

As I graduate college and begin a new chapter of my life, I have realized that my life can be broken down into a constant stream of hellos and goodbyes.  There is so much sadness in the goodbyes, but there are always happy hellos on the other side.  I know the past few years have been that way, goodbye home – hello camp, goodbye camp – hello school…and so on.
This past month I experienced some of the most emotional and heartbreaking goodbyes ever.  This may sound extreme – but it was incredibly hard to say goodbye to my dear college friends when I left Gordon for the last time.  When I arrived home, I took some time to read through some of my prayer journals from the past years.  It was remarkable to see the parallel between the goodbyes after graduating high school, and my most recent goodbyes I experienced.  I journaled on August 5th, 2008 that the goodbyes were “bittersweet…I fear the aching of my heart when I am apart from my best friends. Hands down this will be the most grand adventure, heartwrenching goodbye, and bittersweet beginning of my life.”  Now I’ll be the first to admit, it does seem a little overdramatic – using words like “heartwrenching” and “aching” – but it is the honest truth, that saying goodbye to friends who have been a constant source of love and encouragement for years of my life is nothing less than those words. 
However, what is beautiful about life is that the pains and struggles are always lessons.  Every difficult thing we experience is a chance to grow and to learn, and from the Creator of the  world, no less!  Those goodbyes after high school were really difficult; I missed my friends like crazy.  But after a while, I adjusted – we adjusted.  I learned how to maintain long distance friendships that were just as loving and encouraging as they were when we were face to face.  Through this I have learned and can trust that my relationships with my sweet Gordon friends will continue and will grow. 
As I start a new “grand adventure” in Colorado, I am nothing less than terrified.  But in that I see so much JOY and possibility – I have witnessed throughout my life the faithfulness of God and the way He works through our fear.  Every experience I’ve had has been a testament to His divine plan and purpose for me.  So I know that it is all part of His plan for me to say this new “hello”, despite all the “goodbyes” that it requires.
I am so thankful for the past few years of my life and the time I spent at Gordon.  I have learned and truly been transformed by the experience – and that has everything to do with the amazing people God placed in my life.  I was beyond blessed to have the roommate, apartmentmates, and friends that I had.  They taught me what true community was (2 AM heart to hearts followed by dance parties), how to love well and be loved well (November 30th New Years party, anyone?), that tears are always healthy (whether it’s while making popcorn or during communion), and what it looks like to become a dedicated follower of Christ (more examples than can be listed…).  I can never come close to expressing how grateful I am for the amazing relationships  and experiences I was given.  And all of this makes goodbyes that much harder.  I learned something beautiful through that too, however – that hard goodbyes are an incredible blessing.  If I left Gordon without any emotional goodbyes, it would mean that I did not invest or live the way I was designed to.  Sobbing in my apartment, the mailroom, the airport, everywhere – means that we invested in each other.  Our hearts only break if we truly loved.  Isn’t that beauty?
So I’ll say it outright, to all the people who congratulated me and asked me if I was excited to be done with college – No!  I’m not excited.  I loved it.  I loved my friends, my experiences, my mentors, professors, and classes.  I’ll never find a more perfect roommate.  But life requires transition.  Chapters end, and we must start new ones.  I know that God is preparing a life for me in Denver already.  And though starting over is challenging and overwhelming, when I wrote about my fear of it on August 5th, 2008 I had no idea the amazing experience God had already planned for me.  So I go ahead in confidence, fully believing that in Him nothing is impossible; I am safe in His arms and have purpose and value in His eyes.
To my friends all across the country, I hope you know how thankful I am for you.
Isaiah 55:12 –
“You will go out in JOY, and be led forth in PEACE”

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One of those twenty-somethings trying to find my way through this silly world. I write to process, and sometimes send those thoughts out into the void. Passionate about Jesus and people and bringing those two together. Living in and loving Denver. Working with college students, who are the coolest. Seeking Jesus in everything.

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