Wednesday, September 26, 2012

on the beauty and pain of saying good-bye...

How do you say goodbye?

How do you gracefully tell a friend that you prayed God would bring you how much you will miss her? 

How do you watch your best friend and her family pack up and move to another state?  How do you allow them to pack up a piece of your heart and take it with them?

How do you explain how badly your heart hurts because of the gaping hole this distance will create?

How do you capture so many years of memories into words that portray how deeply you feel for this friend and her family?  How do you adequately tell them how much their lives have meant to you and your family?

How do you do this?

Seven years ago, God gave me the bestest friend ever.  A friend I had prayed for as I transitioned back to Florence.  A friend who has held my hand and cried with me.  She has laughed with me {and at me}.  A friend who has seen me through some tough times.  A friendship that healed some heartache and brought so much joy.

We celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas and birthdays together.  We enjoyed lunches and dinners as a family.  We celebrated weddings and babies and anniversaries.  We fed our bellies, while feeding our hearts too. 

My friend rushed to my side after a long day of work to help me try on wedding dresses.  And she stood by my side as I walked the aisle and said, 'I do.' 

We have been there as our daugthers were born.  And now her son.  We shared the joy {and struggles} of motherhood together.  We have loved each other's children as if they were our own.  And we have watched as our girls have formed a special bond.  A bond that mimics that of their mothers.

We have shopped together and lunched together and prayed together.  We enjoyed trips to the beach and copius amounts of crab legs.  We watched our children splash in the pool as the sun kissed their cheeks.  We walked many a mile together, pushing strollers and pulling wagons and directing bikes.  We've kissed boo-boos and played in the sand and chased bubbles.  We knew in our hearts that it took the village to raise our children.  And so we rose up and became the village for each other.  We support each other and encourage each other and love each other like only best friends can do. 

It is no wonder my heart splinters into a million pieces at the thought of saying good-bye.  It is no wonder that each day for the past two weeks my eyes well up with tears when I pass her street on the way to and from work.  It is no wonder that I feel time slipping through my fingers.  It is no wonder that I am at a loss for words.  At a loss for everything really.

It is no wonder.

But I know that a friendship born out of God's love has the ability to transcend the miles that physically seperate two women. 

So, how do I say good-bye?

I don't.

Instead, I pour out blessings over my best friend and her family.  Because they are walking in God's will for their lives.  I cover them in prayer.  Prayers for safe travels and smooth transitions.  And as much as it hurts, I pray for God to raise up another woman in Alabama to stand alongside my best friend.  To be a friend to the bestest of friends.  I rejoice with the McCarthy and McAlpin families as their children {and grandchildren} are closing the gap that has seperated them for so many years.  I lift up the staff and members of Westmeade Baptist Church as they welcome the McAlpin family with open hearts and open arms.  May they experience the love and friendship that has blessed my life for the past seven years. 

And I tell my best friend thank you.  Thank you for answering a prayer so many years ago.  Thank you for blessing my life with you.  With your friendship and your love and support.  With your time and your talent.  Thank you for loving my kids and letting me love yours.  Thank you. 

Oh my dear friend, how I pray Philippians 1:3-6 over you.  I sing praises to God for you.  Thank you for spurring me along in my walk with Jesus.  From the bottom of my heart, I adore you and your precious family.  I simply adore you, my friend.

I love you and I will see you later, okay? 

No amount of distance will make me give up on our friendship.  No amount of time that lapses between face to face visits will make me forget your beauty.  No amount of busyness will cause me not to call or text or stalk on Facebook and Instagram.  {Note:  You MUST do better with posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram, k?  You are a photographer, after all.}

When you get to where you are heading and you feel the slighest bit lonely, just reach out and I will grab your hand.  I promise.  I will always grab your hand. 

'We'll be Friends Forever,
won't we, Pooh?'
asked Piglet.

'Even longer,' Pooh answered. 

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