Delayed Goodbye

Until today I must have thought there was an actual u-turn available. As though the road we had traveled—the route we’d mapped out on our own—was one we could also travel in reverse.

Perhaps this was a security-thought-blanket, something I wrapped tightly around me to keep tears in place and sorrow suppressed.

But today was the first day I volunteered as a volunteer—no superlative title attached. No pastor’s wife who is in the children’s ministry. No church staff hanging out with the 10 and under. It was just me, an unassuming presence, who didn’t know where anything was located and didn’t know the families to whom the children belonged. I had no authority when schedules were shifted, and no peace-offering for the kids when the fun un-shifted.

It was in that moment I longed for the community we had created. I wished we were only on vacation. I wished to make a u-turn that didn’t exist.

Thirty minutes later, eavesdropping from the kitchen as I made lunch, I heard a service streaming from my husband’s computer. Our ‘back home church’ had found a new pastor—a new someone to care for them and learn their kids’ names. A new someone to uncover God’s word for them and watch them grow into roles of leadership. A new someone to share meals with. A new someone to call friend.

And as he spoke on the church’s ministry of reconciliation, I wanted nothing more than to be reunited with—to be in right standing, standing right beside—my family on the screen. But I couldn’t, because we left them and we chose this.

The finality of that decision has been the heaviest today as I celebrate the incredible leader our former church family has chosen to call theirs.

I’ve been saving a book, unable to open it and unsure of why. Its pages are filled with photographs of Colorado, layered with handwritten farewells. Now I know the why:

I might have moved 8 weeks ago, but today is the day I say goodbye.



5 thoughts on “Delayed Goodbye

  1. Oh, Marian, my heart hurts for you. Praying God takes the aching away but not the awesome memories shared.

    1. Thanks, Carol. Yesterday was really hard. But today is a new day and a new week and I’m looking forward. Hugs!

  2. Marian …. I experienced the same thing today. As Will stepped onto the stage I was saddened. I realized that you guys weren’t just away visiting family, but that this finality meant you had actually moved on. {I am so excited for your journey and I believe you are exactly where God wants you.} My heart said Goodbye as well today. You are THE reason I found restoration these last few years and will forever be grateful. Keep your door open and you never know this crew may come a knockin’.

  3. The changes we sometimes choose can often be the toughest. Though i haven’t been in ministry, I know the pain of longing for a u-turn, of saying goodbye long after the goodbye happened. I’m a fan of Facebook for the connections that can be continued, the pictures that can be shared and memories continued.
    I can only hope and pray for you abs your family to feel so loved and welcomed here in Maine that the pain turns to Joy and excitement with new deep friendships that will be as precious as those you left.
    You all are loved. And we are so glad you’re here!

    1. Molly, I love your heart! Thank you for the reminder. Our decision to move here didn’t feel much like a decision at all, but a series of ‘yeses’ to things as they unfolded. And so I find a great deal of comfort knowing God’s up to something I can’t see. But I am so tired of the leaving… So Maine might be stuck with me for life. Can’t wait to see you Friday. You and Isla were a bright spot in my week last week.

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