Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Those Songs

Is it okay if I just admit that I HATE, HATE, HATE goodbyes? Seeing it in print is no more of a consolation than saying it aloud.
Why can’t everyone just stay where they belong?
"Pomp and Circumstance" and the "Wedding March" are equally sad tunes, and for the same reason. Both signify the passing of time and the shaking up of “things as they are.” How well I remember sitting in Three Hills, Alberta crying at my ds* and ddil*-to-be’s graduation from the Explore Program at Prairie Bible, witnessing the cap and gown procession down the aisle to that dismal march.
That’s when my son’s dmil-to-be looked over at me with tears in her eyes and asked, “Isn’t this silly? We are crying because they graduated from (pause) – mountain climbing?” At that we exploded into giggles, and poor ds thought for sure we had both lost our minds.
We both understood what ds did not. “Pomp and Circumstance” was just one small step toward the inevitable “Wedding March” we would be hearing one short year later. Now ds and ddil live 2700 miles away. I knew instinctively that song would bring me sorrow.
Next week I will be at the Oaxaca Christian School playing "Pomp and Circumstance" on the piano, provided my eyes aren’t too blurred to see the notes. The added kicker is the reminder that I might have had a child in this high school graduating class of 2011. We lost two babies in Guatemala that would have been due either in January or July of 1993. Just when I thought I was over it, the memory returned with a fresh wave of grief.
Once upon a time, I grew weary of forever saying goodbye to friends who weasel their way into my heart only to leave the field and never return. My heart began to crust over that tender spot so that I no longer felt the acute pain of parting (and miscarriages). The trouble is that you cannot selectively block certain emotions. In blocking pain you inadvertently block joy.
Being alive means experiencing both the happy and the sad.
Through the years, God completed the restoration of my soft heart, and now I can freely bawl through weddings again, plus graduations, Hallmark commercials, and even animated movies like Up and Toy Story 3 (watching Andy go away to college and leave his toys behind … waa!).
The flip side is that I can now grieve with those who grieve. The best part is that I can also deeply experience the joy life brings.
While I still cry over the reality of loss in life, I am rejoicing in the news that, Lord willing, I am to become a grandmother later this year! What jubilation I might have missed if things had “stayed the same” like I thought I wished. I can’t imagine life without my two precious ddils, whether they ever give me grandbabies or not.
IRL* May future “Wedding Marches” kindle hope rather than despair.


  1. With my oldest being 12, I know I have a few years before he leaves, but I also know that it will be here before I know it. Thanks for the reminder to cherish the days I do have but then also be prepared to let them go.

  2. I so very much hate "good-byes", as well. And, I know what it means to wall off a heart for protection! Saying good bye just doesn't feel "right"... not as it should be ...were we even created to "say good-bye"?? I don't know.
    But, I LOVED your beautiful statement that "being alive means experiencing both the happy and the sad." Yes. and, amen! I am fond of calling that experience "sunshine and rain". Both are needed. Both are real and truly a part of life. So, I want to know how to be FULLY joyful; therefore, I need to also learn and (be taught by God) to fully grieve and enter into hard emotions, as well.
    Thanks for your thoughtful and wonderful post.
    And, congrats on the upcoming arrival of a grandchild, how cool is that?!!?? ...ya had to have a little rain, so that you could have this BIG 'OL sunshine!!

  3. @Tonia, my youngest is 12, so we can skid our way through these flying years together. There's no slowing it down.

    @Stephanie, I do believe we were not created to suffer such painful partings, nor death, nor sin.... It's another reminder that we were not made for this world at all! In light of eternity, it's all just a blip on the screen.

  4. Thank you for this beautiful and sensitive post, which I'm sure has touched a chord with many. It encourages me now because next month we'll be saying good bye to some best friends that we've worked with closely on the field for 9 years.

    Yes, I agree being alive means joy and sadness!

  5. Hang in there, Olive. Sometimes we have lonely spells after someone leaves, but hopefully soon you will be surprised with some new coworkers that will become dear friends.

  6. If anyone subscribes to these comments or reads them after the fact, I want to add a link to OliveTree's recent blog post about goodbyes:
    She says what I wish I had. :)


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