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saying goodbye

August 2, 2011

Living in Seattle, one must say goodbye often. It’s a regular occurrence: you’ve spent time cultivating a friendship and as you sit over a glass of wine you hear, “Well, I have something to tell you.” Like a bad break-up, they say, “It’s not you but me” and that their wonderful new opportunity in someplace else means that they’re moving in two weeks.  Over and over again, the band-aid covering your relational scars lifts and the wound deepens.


For a variety of reasons, Seattle is hard place to foster friendship and, in my mind, transience just adds another level of difficulty. Many of us find ourselves in a hard position: you want friends, you need friends, you’re open to having friends but to actually do the work of building a resilient, life-giving friendship marked by mutual care and sacrificial love is daunting.


Though I am tempted to go live on a farm for the rest of my life and avoid all the heartache, it’s an inescapable part of the human experience. If you want to really live you have to be willing to say good-bye. Especially in Seattle. Sometimes over and over again.


I think the Gospel has a bunch to say about a transient world. First, Jesus promised to build a city where people wouldn’t move. I am happy about that. Second, we don’t have to be self-protective to resign ourselves to a friendless reality. We can hope. We can pursue all the while believing that one friendship we absolutely need and ultimately desire is already realized in Jesus.

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