When Saying Goodbye Really Means Hello

I have felt the heartbreak of goodbye too many times to count. It starts before I have a choice; moving from place to place at the emotional whim of a mother trying to find fulfillment in a place, to heal the soul wounds of decades.

With every introduction of a new teacher, the pungent smell of textbooks, the eyes of peers over the new girl with curly hair and contagious laugh, I hold my breath until the next time we load boxes with the yellow smiley face bank and Abba records.

Holding your breath in the wait of imminent goodbye keeps you in a fog. You can’t see the joy gift of the present while wondering how much time ticks on the alarm of change in a life of musical chairs.

When we said, “I do”, we joined hands to say goodbye. Eight times behind the moving van of fate full of picture frames to remember the orange trees hanging low in the back yard and the pool where they learn to swim. The twists of the manzanita, the snow on the mountain, the first time she rides a bike in the desert, and floats on frothy seas.

With each good bye, I inhale the ache of letting go and exhale hello to the push of risk, and brave new chapters.  Because just beyond the holy goodbye is the promise of fulfillment in the hope of future. And I don’t want to miss that for staying stuck in the here and now.

Today I wave goodbye to their adolescence and trying to read the end of the story before living the middle. I woke up in the hello of today in all her silent glory. Thankful for the string of community in our wake of goodbyes that gives courage for the dawn of each new day.

You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. ~Acts 1:7, Message

What about you? What are you waving goodbye to, in order to say hello?

Joining Lisa-Jo at the Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday with the one word prompt: Goodbye.

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41 Responses to When Saying Goodbye Really Means Hello

  1. “Thankful for the string of community in our wake of goodbyes that gives courage for the dawn of each new day.” In our wake of good-byes, we build the string of community. And in doing so, we can look to the future with a bright hope and expectation.

    Beautiful post, Shelly.

    • Thanks Denise. I’ve learned to see the goodbyes as opening a new chapter of my story that doesn’t include regret. I used to linger in the past so long I missed what was right in front of me. Maybe I had to move so many times so I would get the point He was trying to make. :)

  2. Heidi says:

    I love that sometimes saying goodbye means saying hello… thanks for the reminder and thanks for the kind words today!

  3. HopeUnbroken says:

    just beautifully woven. you’ve touched my heart. no other words.
    blessings,
    steph

  4. tara pohlkotte says:

    These seasons of “goodbye” they grow me hard, each one. And makes each “hello” all the sweeter. After all, one such goodbye not too long ago, brought me to all of you. Love how you weave your past, while learning to ease into your future. It’s beautiful to watch unfold.

    • Thanks Tara, your comment actually just gave me a bit of insight into my writing journey. What did you say goodbye to btw, just curious. So glad you did, you are truly a gift to me. You are on fire lately. Congrats on the Yeah Write pick today and being on the Imperfect Prose team. I was so excited when I saw your name there. God promoting your writing so more people can be blessed. Yay!

  5. Dea says:

    Of course, I hardly know you but following your words all these months, but I would say all those good-byes have been stepping stones to where you are right now. It takes courage and encouragement not to be stuck. You are my brave blogging friend who has found the courage to say good-bye, pick up the the beauty of each step bringing it with you into the next part of your journey. I rejoice with you :) I want to keep reading the story…thanks for writing it.

    • Yes, you discerning, intuitive friend you! They have all been stepping stones, no question. I cannot tell you how much your encouragement means to me at the moment. I am finding myself in a weird place I’m not familiar with. Having a bit of trouble sorting through thoughts and feelings. I am sure it is God at work doing something new in me but it feels uncomfortable.

  6. I am like you I loath saying goodbye. You are spot on when you bring up all the sweet things we can embrace because of the bitter byes

  7. I love what we have in common is saturated with our own unique experiences. Our journeys are so different, yet they’re leading to the same place. . .
    I wonder if all of your good-byes has taught you not to become afraid of them. For you have seen the hellos on the other side… that’s how I’ve felt anyway. That joy can be found in any goodbye as you anticipate the hope of the coming hello.

    beautiful 5 minute write as always, friend! I love reading your heart.

    • Nikki, I hadn’t really thought about all those goodbyes giving me freedom of fear but I am glad you brought that out in this post. Because as I think about it, I know that is right. I used to be so fearful of change and with every move, I have let go and learned how to be content no matter where I am. Thanks for that!

  8. C.Allyn says:

    Oh Shelly,
    this was an easy one to answer. Fifteen years of marriage with no children…..to having our first child by the summer. We have booked the tickets. We have confirmed accommodations (praise
    God for an affordable place to stay at).
    How easy will it be to step into the unknown….well, I am full of questions and thoughts and sometimes am just freaked out. Trusting God is what I am leaning on. A dear lady in my study group, a prayer warrier said this, “if we knew 100 % then it woulsd not be faith”
    So part of this answer to your question is that three years ago we had to say good-bye to our own effort and hello to committing ourselves to trusting God in this whole process and that includes bringing our new son into this home.

  9. Been there. Done that. Different reasons. Different seasons. You bless me always, my friend.

    One of my favorite quotes: “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” ~Anatole France

  10. Kim Jones says:

    I moved a lot as a kid too. Everytime my mother moved us, I was relieved. I always thought things would finally be different. Though they seldom were, one good-bye brought us to meet our grandparents. It was a blessing. As I got older, I’ve learned that good-byes can often be blessings cloaked in tears. May God bless your lovely family!

    • I guess there were moves that I hoped things would be different too. One time we moved near grandparents as well. We just didn’t stay very long. And I agree, sometimes goodbyes can be blessings, even though they don’t feel that way in the moment.

  11. Wisdom!
    Thank you for bringing me here! I will stay a while :-)
    Hello!

  12. Floralba says:

    A great take on Goodbye; we’ve all been there. Yes at times we must brave the goodbye in order to say hello. Thank you for this; it’s beautiful!!!

  13. r.elliott says:

    Shelly…your pictures are beautiful…and yes…if we don’t say good-bye and look with hope to the new…we will stay stuck…and I am with you…just wanting to wake up in the hello of today:) have a wonderful weekend.

  14. Laura says:

    When my husband was in grad school in Montana, I remember the local moms saying they didn’t want their kids to attend a certain elementary school because that was where all the grad school students’ kids went. It was too hard to say good bye to a friend. It is hard to see the joy of the present if you know a good bye is coming. I’ve struggled with this a few times. Still haven’t managed to live completely in present. Adolescence is not far from our home. Lead the way Shelly. I ‘ll be following.

    • I lived years in the past and future, because I knew the present was temporal. I realized it was evident to others when someone told me at our going away party they felt like I was never fully present. It wasn’t a criticism, just honesty. I was just embarrassed that she could see it. I hope I have learned to take it all in, wherever He takes me. I will lead the way Laura, but the journey might be full of curves and hills along the way! :)

  15. Beauty rests on your pen always and everyday. This sings sweetly to my heart: comfort and peace.

  16. This is such a beautiful post! At 35 years old I am waving good-bye to a life just about me (and then me and my husband) and saying hello to life as a mother. I am expecting my first baby in October. I am elated, but there have been moments when I have realized what I will no longer experience. Those were good days, but the hellos of tomorrow are going to be so much more fulfilling!

    • I remember feeling that way with my first pregnancy. Crying in the closet one day over the thought of what I was losing in my relationship with my husband when a child comes. Every season of life comes with its surprising joy and fulfillment, even when we don’t understand it.Congratulations on you imminent hellos. What a gift motherhood is.

  17. tereasa says:

    I know saying goodbye very well. I moved a lot growing up and even more as an adult. You’re right. Goodbye can be good. It’s not always my first choice, but God’s plans are always better.

  18. Abba records–I knew I liked you! I lived in the same house during almost my entire childhood, and my mom stayed in that same house for forty years. Saying goodbye to that place was something. We’ve moved only a couple of times since we’ve been married, all within the same general area. Our last move was when my son was nine. He has a really hard time with transitions. I’m still not sure he’s forgiven us for that one. Maybe someday…

    • You, living in the same place so long, are so fortunate. I always wondered what that felt like, to be rooted that way. It’s a gift. But I think perhaps I moved so much as a child to prepare me for the volitale life of ministry. He has our time in His hands doesn’t He? And you know, every time my husband says to the kids that there is something we have to talk about as a family, my kids hold their breath afraid he will say we are moving. They have a hard time with tranisitions too. And I’m not sure if my daughter has gotten over the moves either.

  19. A wise man once told me that I had to let go of what was in my hand in order to receive what what in God’s for me…
    Thanks so much for this beautifully written and insightful post!

  20. kd sullivan says:

    You are so right about good byes and hellos! I may be saying good bye to my raising children and home schooling era, but I’m saying hello to new opportunities and expressions of His grace in my life!

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