Goodbyes and Hellos

“Do you keep a blog anymore?” my youngest sister asked me yesterday. Yikes. Has it been that long since I’ve written?

Yes, I still keep a blog, but in the midst of a very busy and somewhat tumultuous season of life, the blog has gotten a little dusty. So now it’s time to blow off the dust {woooosh} and get back to writing, even though I don’t know exactly what to say.

If you haven’t been keeping up with me through other venues, here are some bullet points from my life recently:

  • My husband and I made two 3-week trips from Taiwan to the U.S. during December–February. The first trip was to spend Christmas vacation with my in-laws. The second was for my father-in-law’s funeral after his speedy decline from terminal cancer. Talk about a whirlwind of travel and grief.
  • My li’l sis is pregnant. Yay! And sick. Boo! She is just into her second trimester, so it’s getting better albeit slowly. That being said, we pushed through a lot of hard moments (for her w/ pregnancy sickness & me with continued anxiety issues) during the past three weeks that we spent traveling together in southern Taiwan, Taichung (my home), and Shanghai (her home). “Did you have a delightful time?” my mama-in-law asked me. Ehhh, it wasn’t all delightful, but it was really good to be with my sister.
  • Charles and I are leaving Taiwan in 47 days!!! That’s about 1.5 months. Where has the time gone?

So, about that last point…we’re leaving Taiwan. In less than two months. Yikes!

I have lived in Taiwan for 7 years, and while I’ve had ups and downs, Taiwan has been very good to me. I love this country, the language, these people, and yes, the food! I’m going to miss so much about Taiwan. And while I’m looking forward to the new season of life back in the States, I’m not sure what it holds. There is a lot of mystery about moving “home” for me. That might surprise some, but if you’ve lived away from home for any amount of time, I bet you understand.

I’m reading a book called Burn Up or Splash Down about reentry into one’s home country. Most people expect culture shock when going overseas (duh, everything will be different), but we often underestimate how much culture shock there will be when going home. Because it’s home, and home isn’t supposed to be foreign. But after 7 years of living mostly in Taiwan, I bet the U.S. will seem foreign in some big ways.

At the beginning of a helpful chapter in the book, there is a quote from another author. It made me catch my breath:

What is a goodbye? It is an empty place in us. It is any situation in which there is some kind of loss, some incompleteness, when a space is created in us that cries out to be filled. Goodbyes are any of those times when we find ourselves without a someone or something that has given our life meaning and value, when a dimension of our life seems to be out of place or unfulfilled. Goodbyes are all of those experiences that leave us with a hollow feeling somewhere deep inside. (Joyce Rupp, Praying Our Goodbyes)

I’ve been saying a lot of goodbyes already, and there are many more to come in the next 1.5 months. Goodbyes are not easy. That hollow feeling deep inside is painful. There are many “someones” and “somethings” that have given my life meaning and value in Taiwan, and I will miss each of them.

Yet along with goodbyes come hellos. New people. New experiences. New jobs. A new church. The old gives way to new, like snow melts in the spring and gives way to flowers fighting their way up from the ground.

I took a photo once of a little purple flower springing up from the middle of my family’s cracked back patio. That flower was a fighter! It had to be resilient to survive on that harsh slab of concrete with five pairs of feet clomping around it. That little fighter flower inspired me.

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? Matthew 6:30 (NLT)

As I go through this season of goodbyes, transition, and reentry, I’m trying to process it all with the assurance that Christ is walking with me at every step. Yes, there is grief in this season, but there is also joy. I am not sure what the future holds, but I am confident that Christ holds my future.

Journey with me as I walk this path of transition and reentry. What season of life do you find yourself in right now? What goodbyes and hellos are you saying?

3 thoughts on “Goodbyes and Hellos

  1. Beautifully said! =) May this season bring you much joy even if some sadness, and I love how you said it’s like the melting of snow to reveal the life that comes with spring. =)

  2. Christel, thanks for this post. As you regularly do, you capture in a few words the “sweet and sour” of life from a Christian perspective. Your posts are especially endearing in that, in exposing your own soul, you give us a glimpse of our souls as well. Keep writing…

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