Thursday, July 23, 2015

Don't Say Goodbye

Things are changing.

I don't talk about my personal life, particularly the sad bits, a whole lot on this blog. Usually that's because there's not much to say about them. But sometimes there are.


My parents told me the news four months ago: we're moving. Not just to a new house, to a new state, almost eight hours away. Since then, life has been successively growing in craziness as we try to get ready to leave. Even so, I don't think the reality of our move fully hit- until this week, when suddenly Skillet's "Say Goodbye" has become the theme song of my life.

It seems strange and
I need to figure this out.

I've lived in the same house for nearly twelve years. To some of you, those who've lived in the same house or at least the same town all your lives, that may seem unsurprising. But for my family and me, it's a not-so-small miracle; by all rights, we probably should've moved at least once already by this time. But we haven't. We've been allowed to stay.

So why do we have to leave now?

 You got your life,
I got mine,
But you're all I cared about.

 I'm an introvert. That may surprise some of you; I'm a lot more outgoing online than I am offline. Online, talking to people, even strangers, is easy. Sharing my thoughts and feelings is easy. Offline, both things are a lot harder, and I tend to spend a lot of time by myself. However, being an introvert also means that I'm very attached to the friends I do have. They mean the world to me, and I look forward to every chance I get to spend time with them.

And now I'm leaving them behind.

Yesterday we were laughing.
Today I'm left here asking,
Where has all the time gone now?
I'm left alone somehow.
Growing up and getting older;
I don't want to believe it's over. 

As I said earlier, despite the craziness of moving preparations, the reality of our upcoming departure didn't really hit me until this week, my last full week here. Next weekend I leave for Support Staff at White Sulpher Springs, and once that's done, I officially move. So, this weekend has been filled with lasts: last Bible Study on Friday, last game night on Saturday, last church service and youth group on Sunday. My community, my friends, are slipping away.

 Don't say goodbye
'Cause I don't want to hear those words tonight.
'Cause maybe it's not the end for you and I.
 I don't want to believe those friendships are over. I want to believe that this isn't goodbye; it's only "see you later." I want to believe we'll keep in touch through email and letters and text messages until I can come back home. But enough other friends have moved or otherwise dropped out of my life that I'm afraid this is the end. That these goodbyes are the end.

I don't want the end to be now.

And although we knew
This time would come for me and you
Don't say anything tonight
If you're going to say goodbye.

Today is, effectively, one of my last full days in my home. I'll be spending the next two weeks volunteering at White Sulpher Springs as part of their Support Staff (which both excites me and terrifies me at the same time), and the movers come to pack up the house shortly after I return. Because of that, I almost feel like I'm already gone- like my home has said goodbye to me already, even though I haven't really said goodbye to it.
But "Say Goodbye" isn't the only song playing in my life.

I know who goes before me.
I know who stands behind.

I don't understand why I have to move. But I know God has a reason for it, that he planned it for us. He even gave me warning of it: in February, during a youth group lesson on words of knowledge, one of my youth leaders- one of the people I'll miss the most after I move- said God had given her a vision of a tornado while she was praying over me. We both thought it was weird but didn't recognize what it meant until later, until I found out about the move and realized this is it. That a tornado is a storm that picks things up and moves them other places, just as the move would uproot my family and me and move us to a new state.

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.

In some ways, I feel like this move is a test, as if God's saying "When your life was easy, you called me your Great Author and thanked Me for my promise that I know the plans I have for you. Now that My plans are different than Yours, will you still thank me?" And I'm doing my best to do just that- to acknowledge that, yes, He does have a plan, and even if I don't understand, His plan is better than mine- even as I ask Him, why, why, why do we have to go?

The One who reigns forever,
He is a friend of mine.

I'm trying to look on the bright side of the move. The location is far from ideal- but it's also far from the worst it can be. The area, after all, is quite pretty (when it's not raining), and I'll have plenty of places to go take pictures and a backyard big enough to shoot my bow and arrows, and maybe I'll get to meet an online friend or two. I even used to daydream about living there when I was younger, opening my own bookstore- "Ye Olde Bookshoppe", named after a bookstore in one of my then-favorite books- which makes me wonder if, in the midst of this move, God's teasing me a bit. Anyway, we're only supposed to be there a few years, and then we can move.

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.
 
God is sending us on this move for a reason. I keep reminding myself of that. And I keep reminding myself, as do others, that this'll be an adventure. Occasionally, if I'm in a good mood, I'll jokingly add "All those books about people going to other worlds seem to start with the people moving somewhere new. Maybe this is your chance!" But sometimes, my reaction to the thought of an adventure is the same as Bilbo's reaction to Gandalf's invitation: "Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! I can't think what anybody sees in them!" On those days, my spirit's still singing:

Don't say anything tonight
If you're going to say goodbye.
 

Lyrics from: "Say Goodbye" by Skillet and "Whom Shall I Fear" by Chris Tomlin.

12 comments:

  1. As you know, I just went through a move to a different state too. It can be a huge change, so I hope and pray everything will go well for your family.

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    1. Thanks, Emma. I really appreciate the prayers.

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  2. Oh, Sarah... : ( I've never moved; I don't recognize this struggle on a personal level. But in a deeper, more spiritual place, I can glimpse some of your pain, and I am so, so sorry. But remember, this may be your start. You're leaving the Shire; but beyond the shire lies Rohan! : D Good luck!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Allison. I like the way you put that- about leaving the Shire- and I'll do my best to keep it in mind.

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  3. I will be praying for you--moving can be so difficult! I pray you're able to keep your old friendships and make lots of new ones that will bless your life and help you grow in many ways!

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    1. Thanks, Rebeka. That means a lot.

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  4. Beautifully written, Sarah. We look forward to seeing you again, but most of all we look forward to seeing how the Lord is going to use this upheaval in your life. We pray He will bring the right people across your path, and that the transition will go relatively smoothly. We will miss you and your family very much!

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    1. Thanks, Mrs. B! I miss you and everyone back there- but I appreciate your prayers.

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  5. I'm so sorry. It's not easy to just pick up your life and move it. You addressed each thought that runs through your mind while going through this, and I just wanted to say thank you.
    I'm moving halfway across the world in 2 months and every fear and emotion you have mentioned, I have gone through and still am.
    So thank you. For writing this. It's something I realized I've been needing to hear, and to know I am not alone exactly in this. :)
    -Esmerelda
    p.s. If you ever need somebody to listen, you know where to find me. ;)

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    1. You're welcome, Esmerelda. Thank you as well, for the reminder that I'm not alone either. *hugs*

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  6. Moving can be tough, I know. I'll keep you in my prayers!

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