Kelsey’s Goodbye Farewell Amen
These past four years have been good, but way too fast. I wish I had more time to compose my thoughts, but as I realize I have had time, it still would never be easier! I hate this part of my “job”! There really is no easy way to say goodbye to you. I am reminded of the last episode of the TV show MASH, where this mobile army surgical hospital gets the long anticipated good news that the war is over and they are all going home. The doctors and army personnel are so excited until they all realize that going home means saying goodbye to the community they have created in war torn Korea. BJ Honeycutt can’t bring himself to say goodbye to Hawkeye because it has such a sense of finality and he cannot wrap his mind around the reality that he will have to live without the daily friendship he has enjoyed for the last few years. Right now I can relate to BJ and his sadness and reluctance to utter those 2 words that acknowledge the end of a relationship and setting that has shaped the ministry of EvFree HSM and my life too. Kels, I don’t really want to learn to live without your presence in my daily life and rhythm.
Goodbyes are hard. This one feels even harder for me! I love the story of Elijah and Elisha’s friendship and hard goodbye. Elijah is being taken to heaven in a fiery chariot and Elisha the younger prophet is refusing to leave and calling after him. While I do not want to imply that we are even close to being compared with these two (although I might argue the point that you have done miracles) and it is in reverse of our story, as I am not the younger and you are not being swept up into heaven, still, there are similarities to us and that story. Elijah and Elisha were partners in ministry, one adopting the other just as we have claimed each other! (You will always be “my daughter”) Those two traveled together and shared adventures. They cared about each other. They saw and felt God work in mighty ways. Goodbye was hard for them because ministry had been so good. Yet, God is faithful even in the midst of hard goodbyes.
By God’s grace our stories have intersected for the past four years as we have grown together, learned and ministered together, and as we have seen God’s hand at work. Sometimes you have been the teacher and sometimes the learner. On a side note, I do think you have given more to this place than we could collectively ever give back. You invited. You welcomed. You listened. You taught. You shared. You laughed and played. You ministered. You were vulnerable with some of the inner and fragile moments of your life. You prayed with and for so many (me). et al. Even though I know that some of this will not change just because you are not coming to this office everyday, I do believe with all my heart that even though this goodbye is hard, it is full of hope. Although your job as a girl’s director is over, your ministry will go on and the stories and the history that include you will become part of the legacy that is student ministries at this church. It will continue to encourage and inform what we do here. It will linger as a fragrant aroma for a long time. Additionally, flames will flicker in hearts of many. As we entrust your next steps to the Lord’s care, I am confident that He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.
It was a long time ago that the 2 words “GOOD BYE” were shortened from the phrase “God be with you”. Many use it to mean “the end” but that is not what it really signifies. Instead it really is a word of hope and blessing. Every now and again the traces of original meaning of God be with you come through.
So, Kelsey, for me, goodbye means God be with you as you listen to what God has for you for the next chapter of your life and the ones after that. God is crafting an amazing and surprising story of grace and hope through your life. I am one of the fortunate ones who was included in one sweet chapter! And I am reminded of God’s incredible presence in our lives over the past four years together. Those adventures have included laughter, tears, meals, tea parties, baptisms, more than one lake, trips to ER, studies, travels, meetings to name a few. Those glimmers of God’s presence have shaped and will continue to define us both as well as forever connect us.
Goodbye means God be with you as you continue to grow in grace and knowledge of the Holy One (Eph. 1:15 ff)
Goodbye means God be with you as you advance the kingdom and remain trustworthy with the keys of the Kingdom. (Luke 16:10, Matt. 16:9)
Goodbye means God be with you as you embrace holiness and grow roots deep (Jer. 17:7,8)
Goodbye means God be with you as you are leading a life worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him and bearing fruit.
Goodbye is a prayer. Wherever you are and wherever you go, God’s Spirit accompanies you. God be with you.
AA Milne wrote, “If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together…there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we are apart…I’ll always be with you.” Jesus said the same thing as he left planet earth for heaven, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”.
Kelsey, I say Good bye // God be with you. God go with you. Goodbye. Farewell. Amen. I love you!
With great admiration and joy,
PS I want to be like you.
PPS I will miss your handwriting as much as your laugh!