Tag Archives: spiritual

The courage to say goodbye and embrace hello

It’s been almost a month since we said goodbye that morning; loving on our precious friends at The Lost Bean before they made their way into their new life in Tennessee.

We had thrown them a southern “shindig” complete with bluegrass music, Tennessee Tea and shrimp and grits, then sent the off with a few redneck gifts to help them adjust to their new life in the South…a 5-gallon fashionably orange backpack for the college student, a beer belt for dad, mason jar & candlestick wine glasses for mom, and a harmonica for family entertainment in case they get bored hanging with bugs.

We even had their faces superimposed in the American Gothic picture of the farmer and his wife. (Yeah. We’re those kind of friends.)

It was an amazing evening and sucked all at the same time.

But isn’t that the way with goodbye?

It’s horrible. I should know. I’ve said a lot of that this last year. My last blog post of about six months ago chronicled my many goodbyes up until that point – not knowing then if blogging was going to be one of them. (Happy to say, it hasn’t made the goodbye list yet.)

Since then, I’ve had to say a few more goodbyes: letting go of my sweet one-year-old grandson and daughter who moved out of our house to start a new family; saying goodbye to my incredible brother as my husband’s business partner; and saying goodbye to our relocated Tennessean friends.

I now consider myself a professional Goodbyer. And, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is rarely an easy thing to do; whether you’re letting go of a job you love…a relationship that needs to be over…a dream that’s simply not supposed to be…an expectation that only seems fair…

Some goodbyes hurt beyond words. And leave you feeling like part of you is dying. And like you will never get up again. And breathe again. And really live again.

If you are there, I am so sorry. I get it. But I can also tell you, there is hope…

Because with every goodbye, a new hello is waiting to take its place.

Pinky-swear.

It will not look the same and in some instances, will never completely fill a void. But it is there; something on the other side, daring you to grab hold: a new opportunity…a new relationship…a new vocation…a new dream…

            a new, better, soul-rich you.

And that is the best hello that goodbye could ever give us!

But there’s a catch: we can’t handshake hello if we’re still holding onto something else. We cannot embrace the new with hands full of the old.

In fact, it’s when we refuse to say goodbye that we often remain stuck – no longer wanting to be where we’ve been, but not yet willing to do what it takes to get to where we could be. Like some caterpillars.

Did you know that some of them, for whatever reason, decide not to say goodbye to their plump little squatty selves and go through the metamorphosis of becoming a butterfly?

They stay in their pre-butterfly state until the day they die. Forever crawling on their bellies. Never sprouting wings. Never flying.

 What a shame.

But it’s the same with us. If we don’t learn to let go, we will never reach the potential that’s inside of us, dying to be known.

Last year, I said goodbye to a lot of things – and at times it felt like I was letting go of a part of me. Truth is, I was.

But unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it won’t bear any harvest.
But oh, if it does! Imagine the crop if it does!
(adapted from John 12:24)

I think I am beginning to see little sprouts coming out of all of my goodbyes. I am blogging, back in school, and even singing again.

It’s a hard thing to say goodbye with all of its comforts and predictabilities. And sometimes, it’s even harder to embrace hello, with all of its mysterious unknowns. But it is well worth it, my friend. It is well worth it.   

So, here is to having the courage to say goodbye and the bravery to welcome the new. Here is to new beginnings, both for me and perhaps for you too.

Happy flying.  :)

Letting go

I was going to write a different kind of blog today. You know, a hopeful one with a fluffy, positive ending. (Did I just use the word fluffy??) You catch my drift.

Problem is, I’m not there. I haven’t experienced that kind of ending yet. So basically, it would have been a lie. Good thing I caught myself.

Truth is, I’m still in the middle of no-man’s-land – caught somewhere between all of the stuff I used to do ‘back then’ and whatever might be for me in the future.

The stuff ‘back then’ that I’m referring to? It’s all of the things I just recently let it go of…

The singing at church.
The worship leading.
The lay counseling.
The speaking.
The mentoring.
The book writing.

Done.

I let it all go. I can’t explain why – other than a clear pulling and directing of God to lay everything down for now. Even though it hurts like you-know-what.

I’ve never been here before – in no-man’s land. It’s very strange. I’ve always been a planner and a dreamer; and, with God’s help, have always made things happen. And although there is nothing wrong with this in and of itself, it can also be a trap. For people like me who perpetually plan, do, go for things, and make things come to fruition, they can get sucked into always looking into the future. They can use it as an excuse to not live in the moment.

They often never learn how to just “be.”

So perhaps I’m supposed to let it all go so I can finally learn how to really live. And be more mindful of all of beautiful life around me. (I’m already doing things I would have been too busy to do before.) Or maybe God has stripped everything away so that my faith will be strengthened. Or perhaps He’s doing a bit more character refining. (Yahoo.)

All of these are very good reasons. But to be honest, I’m scared. Because I wonder if there’s another reason why God is allowing this. I wonder…

Is God done with me? Did He never have plans for me in the first place? Have I been fooling myself, thinking I was going to do something far more than I am?

Those thoughts foster all kinds of unlovely feelings, let me tell you. Thankfully, I happen to have the best family on the planet. My cousin called me the other night out of concern at midnight his time and, amongst many other wise and encouraging things, slipped in one little sentence I don’t think I’ll ever forget:

God hasn’t put you out to pasture yet.

And then he sent me a “no cowbell” sign so I could stick it on my mirror to remind myself. I smiled. And then told him as long as he doesn’t call me a cow we’re cool.

I’m going to hang onto that, along with all of the other wise things he said and Scriptures he gave me. (And maybe start collecting cowbells.) God hasn’t put me out to pasture yet.

Even so, I don’t know what God has next for me or what He might resurrect.

But I do know that I want to trust Him no matter what. It’s easy to trust when things are going our way.

I don’t know when any of that might happen.

But I do know that I want to trust Him no matter what. It’s easy to trust when things are going our way.

I don’t even know if He has anything for me next.

But I do know that I want to trust Him no matter what. It’s easy to trust when things are going our way.

If you’ve been wondering why I’m not up on stage anymore, now you know. If you’re traveling through no-man’s-land like me, I hope this serves to let you know that you’re not alone. (Maybe you can start collecting cowbell’s too.) If you’re the praying type, you can pray for me. Not that God will reveal some “thing” He has for me to do. Not that I’ll necessarily sing again, write, or speak again. But that I’ll trust Him. Even when things aren’t going my way. Because in the end,

I’d rather be the right kind of person, than do the most awesome kind of thing.

Thanks, my friend. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving. :)