Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Silver Lining of Goodbye

Yesterday one of my oldest Oklahoma friends drove off with a moving truck. It was time. They'd been here several years, and Shirlee has never been the biggest fan of southwest Oklahoma. That's a hilarious understatement. But they're moving somewhere green and close to water where there are actually seasons and you don't have to plan a day trip to Target--so I am happy for her, but sad for myself.

We were pregnancy buddies this time around. We lived within walking distance and have traded off kids more than once when the need arose. She passed on clothes from her boy to ours and clothes from her growing belly to mine. She and her two best friends (I can't think of Shirlee without Kelly and Tammy--where one leaves off, the other two begin) taught me about really living life with your fellow military spouses. She's lovingly kicked my husband out of her garage after he and her husband engaged in yet another (very, very long) venting session about work. And yes, she called the cops on me once. Kidding! It was just her husband to help with our favourite (lies!) canine escapee, although she did tattle on me once to the Man for not asking for help while he was gone, and that could technically be termed "calling the cops" as well.

But we said goodbye on Sunday, and as the Man drove us home, I cried and thought melodramatically, "The military is nothing but goodbyes!" And to a certain extent, that's true. We're in the middle of what is fondly termed "PCS season" where half the people you know are going through a permanent change of station, and their houses are filling up with more people PCSing in (and I've already decided to hate whoever moves into Shirlee's house, of course). Shirlee has not been my first goodbye this summer, but for the most part the hard ones have been relatively well spaced out. That is not the case for the next few weeks. So maybe there was a reason behind my weepy over reaction.

Regardless, when I sat back and really looked at it, I realized that while our lives may be full of more goodbyes than the average person, they are also more full of wonderful hellos. If I had never said goodbye to my incredible Virginia friends, I wouldn't have been blessed with so many great hellos upon moving to Oklahoma. This is the way the world turns.

I am learning more and more that this is true of most aspects of our lives. In general, we end up focusing in on the goodbyes and forget about the hellos, if you will. But why is it so much easier to remember the difficult things and push aside the recollection of the many blessings that so often flow out of them?

In this case, there are blessings for Shirlee, of course, but wouldn't I, too, be better occupied considering the many wonderful blessings from knowing her the last two years instead of mourning the fact that those two years are over? Similarly, would it be a better use of my time to advance grieve the Man's deployment or to enjoy our last few days together? Should I spend the next twenty four hours waiting anxiously to discover that something could potentially be wrong with one of the babies or rejoicing that tomorrow we are one step closer to knowing more about the two sweet persons God has graciously added to our family?

This is not a new line of thought. The truth is that we do not see a complete picture of reality. Not ever. And there is nothing wrong with the sadness that comes with loss or even the fears that keep us up at night--so long as we do not stop there, unpack our bags, and move in for the rest of our lives.

I have to remember that God understands a bigger picture than I see: one of blessing for me and the Man and the boys and the twins (and Shirlee!). So I can bemoan the "goodbyes" or I can trust that the "hellos" in store for us are even better than I can imagine. Even if sometimes it takes longer for the hellos to arrive or they look a little different than we may originally wish.

{If you have not yet voted for your twin-gender (twinder?) preference, feel free to click over to the poll and pick your poison.}

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