Saturday, August 11, 2012

Thoughts on Saying Goodbye (without your world ending)

I read a paper once by a very smart lady whose name currently escapes me. - A very unfortunate circumstance indeed, because I would love to give her the credit for spurring forward this thought - alas, my mind is not quite so sharp at the current moment. But perhaps, later on, I will revise this particular article and put her name in. For now, please excuse this diversion. - In her article, she put forward the idea that there is a "dependency-producing" condition in relationships that is as detrimental as addictions.

Let's simplify that statement. Here's some various song lyrics:

- "How do I live without you? I want to know. How do I breathe without you? If you ever go. How do I ever, ever survive? How do I?" - LeAnne Rimes, 'How Do I Live'

- "You're all that I want. You're all that I need. Can't you see how I feel? Can't you see my pain is so real?" - The Moffats, 'I miss you like crazy'

- "I'd catch a grenade for you (yeah, yeah, yeah), throw my hand on the blade for you (yeah, yeah, yeah), I'd jump in front of a train for ya" Bruno Mars, Grenade

If I based my life on this, I'd be dead already.

Here's the thing - we cannot DEPEND on relationships to satisfy us. We will never find ourselves, our identities, or anything about who we are in another person, even if they are really great. Like, really REALLY great. They could be superman, and they still won't make you YOU. Nor will they ever fully satisfy you - people change, situations change, feelings change, and we must look beyond the imperfections of humanity for true satisfaction.

Such is the complexity of balance - we must be independent beings living in mutual dependence. We must be ourselves while finding joy in discovering others. We must love another while simultaneously loving ourselves - this is perhaps the hardest balance of them all. And we must also recognize that our identity is never found in who we are WITH, what we DO, who we are RELATED to, where we LIVE, or what we LOVE. All these things change over time. Instead, we must look for the one thing that never changes. And for me, this is my identity as a child of God. God claims that He will never leave me, nor forsake me. That he loves me as his child, and as his bride. And in this, I can find my ultimate identity - the one thing that will never change about me.

All this being the prelude to the title of this article. Saying goodbye without your world ending.

We all have to say goodbye to people we really and truly care about. To friends, to family, to partners. And they mean a lot to you. And you care about them deeply. And a part of you doesn't want to see them go. And that's okay.

In fact, it's normal. You should feel that way. Be upset. Be sad. Cry if you like. There is a time to mourn. But, as Clare Pinkola Estes said so beautifully, don't keep a seat at your table for this emotion. Don't foster it, feed it, and give it a room. For God has a purpose for all things, and He has great things in store for you, as well as the other person. If He calls them home early, then perhaps the story they've left behind will bring others to discover their own identity as God's loved children. If he sends them away to another country, He has greater purposes. And He may very well want to spur on your own growth away from that individual, even if it may not seem that way at the moment.

And who really knows what the future brings anyway? Perhaps your souls reunite, and you find each other once again. Perhaps you write letters and keep in touch via skype dates, letters, and e-mails. Or maybe you say "see you never," and never talk again.

All this to say that every 'end' is also a new beginning. There is a new adventure awaiting you on the horizon. Mourn the end of the old, celebrate the coming of a new beginning.

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