I’m 9 days from beginning my journey to Baghdad, via England. This takes me away from dear friends and family for 2 months. The imminent goodbyes are pinching my heart. Ouch. I really love people, individually and generally.
It isn’t merely the 2 month separation, but the fact that I know this is the short-term goodbye for what is about to become a more long-term goodbye when I begin to work overseas next year. Tonight the tide of sadness slid onto my sandy shore. Tears stood on their tippy toes and waved their hands over my eyelids’ banks. My apartmentmate said, “It’s because you have loved with abandon.” I smiled and my mind began to walk a wooded path: paved, but picturesque.
I admit the last few weeks I haven’t wanted to love with abandon. I’ve wanted to distance myself to diminish the pain of the unavoidable goodbyes. Then love kicks in more fully; and I want to hug everyone – strangers included.
Then curiosity sets in: what will my life look like a year from now? Who will be my circle of friends where I live next? I remember the stretching of life in Bethlehem: the culture gap, the language delay, and the trails of loneliness that often drifted to my doorstep in the still of night. The idea of saying, “It was worth it” does not do it justice. To be in the center of one’s destiny is a fire and a storm, a hope and a vision, the likes of which nothing can compare. It’s peace and it’s fury. It’s wizened confidence and youthful learning. It’s life: in the very best, most LIFE-giving sense of the word (not the contrary way people often say, “Oh WELL, that’s LIFE!”).
Life is about living. It’s about breathing. It’s saddling every day with adventure and a romantic ride into the sunset. It’s about being present, engaged, committed, and alive. It’s about faith, hope, and love. It’s about the risks of loving well. It’s about jumping up and down when you’re excited and letting tears scramble down your eyes’ fire escape when you’re sad.
It must be about loving with abandon. It simply must.
In the sacrifice of love is an ecstasy of love. In the tremor of a goodbye is the value for love, for life , for friends. A friend of mine recently said,
“Dawn, fulfilling your destiny is the best thing you could do for all your relationships.”
This thought devastates me, in a good and glorious way. To acknowledge that in the positioning of God, in following His leading, even when it navigates the turns of painful goodbyes, is the best path, is both liberating and catalytic. I am most loving my friends and family by being every iota of who God desires me to be- though it takes me far away, sometimes made further by cultural differences and the space of time zones. Yet, in this faithfulness to follow my beloved Jesus, I am blessing those closest to me, even as I leave their side. In fact, I am stirring the Holy Spirit’s movements in their own lives as well; that they would be similarly stirred to beautifully walk into their own destinies.
This is glorious. As we love God with abandon, we love people with abandon. It should be a natural continuum.
And on top of all of this, God is always with us. We never have to say “goodbye” to our biggest fan and closest friend.
On that note, breathe Him in. Wherever you are, whatever transition you are walking out, whomever you are bidding farewell to,
fear not. Simply BREATHE HIM IN.
(This song is from my friends’ Katie and Bryan’s new album.)