I’ll warn you. This post is going to be long.
I have intended to post the following letter for some time. I thought about doing it around thanksgiving. It is a letter I wrote to dear friends when I left Edmonton a few years ago.
I found saying goodbye so difficult that I wrote it down in advance. I was never able to share the letter with more then a small handful of those it was intended for. Why did thanksgiving remind me of this? Thanksgiving, because the light shines through the dark. Thanksgiving, because the second to last sentence is within view. It has been a long, strenuous wait, but finally the joy comes.
So, here it is. If you were one of the treasured friends for whom this letter was written, you do not fade from my memories, but I must continue moving forward. This is one more step ahead.
“As this day, rather this era in time, this moment slows to a stop, the thoughts in my mind torment me. My sorrow overwhelms me. As I set out to ‘ride off into the sunset’ by myself, my grief cannot be contained.
Such great sorrow is riding on the wings of trust, love, care, and true friendship.
I cannot help but question, ‘Why, God, do you provide for my needs of love and friendship (needs I did not even know I had) only to take away?’
But this is incorrect. It is better and more true to be grateful, thankful for the time we have had. Had God not set up this life circumstance, no, I would not face the pain, the sadness, but I would not trade in my hurt now. To do so would require trading in all the good. All the laughs, the tears, the memories. As we all know ‘It is better to love and have lost than not loved at all.’
I could not trade away what I have come to love, that is, those whom I have come to love.
As I sit and reflect, cry and laugh (and read a certain book – The Jesus I Never Knew), I am reminded of Christ. He knew the ultimate goal. He understood the big picture yet in the garden he felt sorrow, aloneness, and even asked to have ‘this cup taken.’ In the end he was still obedient. The plan, God’s will, his design was the most important. Christ said not my will but yours.
Granted I am not going to die soon [so I hope :)] but I have prayed with sorrow and loneliness and pleading for God to allow me to stay. In the end, I have decided that we are all called to live as Christ. At this turning point in life, I must choose as Christ. Not my will, but his.
I cannot see the big picture. I still continue to pray for God to work out something that will allow me to rejoin ya’ll, but at this moment, I must move on.
It will be hard to transition to a different life then here. I am scared, tired, and just plain unsure of what my next life step is. Your prayers would be much appreciated.
As you may know, one of my kind of life themes is God’s faithfulness and our faithfulness in response. I know God is faithful even at this crossroad. In my leaving, I envy you who stay, but it with much hope that I trust in God’s faithfulness. I am confident that this is not the end of our friendship. I refuse to sit back and let time and distance completely eradicate these bonds we have formed.
I am sure we will gather together again and share with excitement the paths that God has taken us on.
One day this time of sorrow will be easier to understand, easier to look back on with tears of joy from the light and the love we have learned from each other.
Until that day, the joy of the Lord is my strength”