It strikes me as ironic that my first post should be titled “On Goodbyes.” However, this past week our family said goodbye to dear friends who have traveled a similar journey in many respects as our family. The husband recently completed a PhD in New Testament, and now they are headed to Indiana where he will teach at a university. I can only pray that Brad will find a job when that times comes as well!
I was struck by several things as we said goodbye. First, a sadness in saying goodbye. I have found friendships with fellow graduate students and families to be especially important during these years of hard work, financial challenges, and an uncertain future. However, saying goodbye is all part of living a somewhat transient life at the moment.
Second, and somewhat surprisingly, was a sense of hope and expectation. Could this be our family a year from now? Seeing the moving truck carefully packed with all our friends’ belongings, and knowing they had a good long road trip in front of them got my traveling feet itching. The surprising part came when both Jacob and Anna expressed similar feelings to mine. With a sense of relief, I heard comments like, “Dad, hurry and finish your dissertation. We want to move.”
To be honest, I have somewhat dreaded what saying goodbye will be like for us once it happens. In so many ways, we have put down deep roots in this place, and rightly so. Jacob and Anna have flourished in their school setting with its challenging classes, engaging teachers, and a variety of extracurricular activities. I, too, have enjoyed rewarding work and the sense of community I feel there. And so, as the end goal approaches with each passing year, the word bittersweet comes to mind regularly. It will be hard to say goodbye when that time comes, and there will be tears, sadness, and a reluctance to leave. Yet I also believe there will be feelings of excitement and anticipation as we embark on a new adventure.