Wednesday, October 18, 2006

the worst curse

There's one word that to me, in any language, is a curse. It's the word, "goodbye". That word and I do not get along at all. I see nothing "good" about it. It came into my vocabulary again this week in a way I've been dreading enough for my sleep to be disturbed and my mind to be filled with anxiety. I had to say goodbye to a person and a place that has been a part of our lives for nine years now. My heart was calm up until the very minute the news was broken, and then it was, too.

I don't understand this part of my faith or life in general. How are we healed through breaking? How do we grow by having parts of us cut off? How do we mend by being torn? I guess the breaking, cutting and tearing have to happen before any of that other stuff does, but why is it necessary in the first place? If I truly give it a bit of the grey matter I realize, this only happens with human beings. I don't think frogs are sad leaving other frogs (well, maybe just a ribbit...) Sigh.

I don't think it is coincidental that I'm involved in a study on the fruit of the Spirit, and the apple I'm biting into now is joy. In looking at the scriptures, I realize that joy, real joy, is entirely connected to our human condition when it is touched by God. Without Him, pain would have little purpose. But with Him, it can be the catalyst for great joy. In fact, the Apostle Paul talks about choosing suffering as a means to joy, because it is connected to knowing the Lord. Philippians 3:10 says this (I'm putting it into my own words), "I am determined that I may know Him more and more completely, the power of His resurrection and His sufferings, so that I may be more like Him". That was Paul's one goal, and everything else fell underneath that umbrella.

If I see goodbye as a part of the process of following my Savior, it does not lessen the pain, but things grow out of it. Great determination to serve more, larger trust in God as one place of safety is left for the unknown, and a healing of the wound in time as purpose is revealed, and multiplication of joy out of the sorrow in the lives of other people. The motivation for saying goodbye this time was to follow the Lord in a different place of service, and while I don't know what is coming, I know blessing is possible out of that cursed word.


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