This week marks the anniversary of my divorce, and per usual, I find myself feeling reflective. I think about sitting in an office surrounded by people waiting for me to sign what had become my life reduced to some pieces of paper, wondering why I was crying and needing tissues. However, unlike many other times, I find myself reflecting in a bit of a different way this time.
This week, we said goodbye to our Sunday school teacher. We’re sending him and his family off to a new venture they’re starting in a different city. They also happen to be basically the only friends I’ve made here in more than a year, save a former coworker whom I see occasionally, so this goodbye was doubly hard for me. A few weeks ago, I had dinner with the family. While we watched the kids play outside, I said to my teacher, “I never thought I could have one Sunday school teacher who was so great at combining philosophy and humor with the truth of God’s Word, but you’re actually my second one.” His wife said something like this to me, “Well, you never thought you’d have one or two, so who knows: maybe you’ll have a third!”
Since then, as I’ve prepared for my last visit with them, my last Sunday, my last goodbye, I’ve realized: “goodbye”s are so hard and no fun, but we’d never have them if we didn’t have “hello”s.
If we never had the fantastic friends who make us laugh in the midst of heartache or send us encouraging notes just when we need it; if it weren’t for the teachers and coaches who inspire us to work hard and make something better of ourselves; if we didn’t have children who make us do things we don’t want to do to provide for them every day; if there weren’t pastors and small group/Bible study leaders who encourage us to be more like Christ, we’d never have to part ways with anyone.
Although the end of my marriage was completely devastating for me, and I was blindsided by all the trauma that followed as results of it, I can say with absolute certainty: I wouldn’t trade the lessons I’ve learned since those events transpired. I can never repay the ways I’ve been blessed or number the miraculous times I’ve seen God provide. I wish that I wouldn’t have had to say so many goodbyes in the last few years, but I would never trade all the hellos God has given me. I can’t imagine my life without the incredible people placed in it; each one I believe, hand-picked for me by the Almighty, loving Father.