The Good Bye of Friends
We have some of our good friends leaving Edinburgh over the next few months. It has been odd saying good-bye. In all honesty, we haven't known any of them for too long. However, we have walked through this time in Edinburgh with each of them, and the shared experience has united us. It will be hard to say good-bye. Yet, the more that Taryn, Calvin, and I move, the more we realize how much good-byes are a part of our life.
There is something about sharing an experience with another person that binds you to that person. Everyone has people in their life that, even though you no longer see them, you can remember the time you had them and it brings a smile to your face. I have friends that I won't see for years, but when we get together, it is as if nothing changed. Friends, true friends, are hard to come by, and the ones with whom we share a long portion of life are often few in number. That is why saying good-bye to a friend is hard.
Yet, these good-byes are a natural part of life. Even if you have a friend your whole life, at some point you will say good-bye. I memorized a short Langston Hughes Poem when I was in high school that has stuck with me:
I loved my friend
He went away from me
There's nothing more to say
So the poem end,
Soft as it began -
I loved my friend.
When our friends go away from us there is a pang and often the only response we have in that moment is to say, "I loved my friend."
Taryn and I have had to say good-bye to many friends. We have friends scattered all over the world. We still walk through the good times and hard times with them from a distance. However, each time there is a joy or a sorrow, it reminds us that we are not with them. We long to be with them. We miss our friends all around the world. Yet we are here and we are making new friends, friends to whom we will ultimately have to say good-bye.
These good-byes cause me to long for the day when we will no longer say good-bye to those with whom we are close. I am reminded of C.S. Lewis' statement:
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most profitable explanation is that I was made for another world.
No experience of friendship in this world can satisfy the desires for knowing and being known that we have deep inside of us. If Lewis' logic holds up, the only possible explanation is that we were made for another world. I long for the day when I no longer need to say good-bye, but this world will never satisfy that. The only thing I can look to is that day that Lord when will gather those who are his own to himself and we will never depart. My friendships in this world, even with Taryn, will never satisfy my desire to be known and, thus, I look forward to the day when:
I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. - 1 Corinthians 13:12
Until that day comes, I will enjoy the friendships I have now, both here and all around the world. I will weep with my friends when we depart from each other. I will laugh with my friends when they have joy in their lives. I will mourn with them when they mourn. I will understand that these friends are only types and shadows that point me to my Lord, who satisfies all my desires. I will see how these times of joy and grief, sorrow and happiness, pleasure and pain are used by the Lord to form me more into the image of Christ. I will say:
Come, Lord Jesus come, yes come quickly!