Thursday, July 12, 2007

Do It Anyway

There are people we don’t see that much with whom we have made conscious efforts to connect in this time before we move. And every time we leave, I think, “Why don’t we do this more often?” Even though my first instinct most of the time is to burrow in at home, telling myself I am just too tired to socialize, there is always something I get from being with people that connects me in deeper ways that I realize only afterwards that I am hungry for. Last Sunday we stood up in front of church to say and receive goodbyes from the congregation and even though it was full of sadness and even though my initial instinct is to slink quietly out of town and avoid goodbyes of every kind, it was well worth doing.

In saying goodbye, in the last times you see people there is awkwardness—who hugs whom and how do you approach the other person? Do you sit and cry together or make jokes and remember the good times? How do you get past the gigantic white elephant in the room which shouts loudly of your impending separation? How can anything good you say overcome that loss? My own prohibitive nature tells me to avoid such tension but I believe firmly this is something I should overcome. In these gatherings with friends, every single time—not one exception—I have come away with a deeper love of others and a greater sense of well-being that comes in being part of that caring community. Something I know I can’t get being tired on the couch at home by myself.

So I push beyond my inertia, my weariness, my exhaustion at saying goodbye too much, and I listen to the voice urging me forward … do it anyway. Get past your tattered emotions, past your awkwardness, past your fears of saying or doing the wrong thing, and just be with the people who love you. Be with the people who have helped define who you are, and receive the gift of their humanity—imperfect and tentative though it may be.


Lorraine Woodward said...

great job making me cry.

Natalie said...

Well, thank you for letting us be one of the "people we should see but we never do but we have to force ourselves to do it now that we're leaving." It reminded us, too, of how much we enjoy you and yours--and how much we'll miss you. I wish you the best in my homeland, and wish you much success in doing things you know are good for you (you know, eating healthy, being sociable, exercising, and any of the other things you mentioned that night). But adding no more pets!! Are you nuts?!?