Saying goodbye... never easy. I have lived in so many transitional places -- college, military towns, vacation spots, and now seminary. A normal part of every semester is saying goodbye to people you've lived among.
Usually I'm fine with goodbyes. I tend to not get too close to people because we're all so busy. When you have multiple children, it gets even easier to distance yourself from true personal intimacy with others. Generally, a simple "Let's keep in touch" and a hug are adequate. (And I do love keeping in touch with friends all over the world!)
On Sunday my friend Stefanie moved to Massachusetts. We had known for over a month that the day would eventually get here. I helped her pack, I helped her sell things, I encouraged her and prayed for her as she and her husband encountered opposition and discouragement in planning their move. So yes, I knew it was coming.
I knew tears were lurking. I knew I did NOT want to cry. I didn't want to upset the boys, who were already starting to get a little anxious about the thought of Jabin moving away to Red Sox land. I held baby Joah and wondered how big he'd be the next time I held him. I hugged Journey and the tears came as she said goodbye in her impish voice, her blue eyes misting up as it dawned on her that she was leaving. Seminary is all she has ever known.
And then Stefanie reached out, said "I love you" and we both wept as we hugged.
Paul used to call Stef my girlfriend. We spent a lot of time together. We talked a LOT. Not just mindless banter or chit chat just to keep the silence away. We shared parenting tips and marriage advice. We swapped recipes. We shared milk and diapers and diet cokes. We knew how the other took their coffee and always had a cup in the afternoons together. We walked into one another's homes without knocking, always welcome, always loved.
I thank God for the few really good friends I've had in my life. There haven't been many, but each one has been spectacular.
If you have a really good friend, thank the Lord for her today and give her a call. Tell her you love her.
And consider yourself blessed.

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