How to Say Goodbye to Something So Good

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I love taking pictures because I love holding onto moments. I love being able to capture a memory and keep it just a little longer.

Recently, though, I've tried to put my camera down and just be. I’m trying to experience the beauty without anticipating the end of it. It’s hard. It’s hard to let yourself be completely captivated. Captivated by the beauty of an ocean or the goodness of a brother. It’s vulnerable. Because you’re opening yourself up to the ache. At some point, the beauty will pass, the moment will be up and that brother will be taken from you. Is it still worth it? Is the ache worth it?

I would argue heck yes. Yes, it's worth it. Yesterday, a group of friends and I got drinks to celebrate a confirmation retreat we had led the weekend before. We sat at a rooftop bar and watched the sun set over the mountains. The colors were amazing and everything in me wanted to reach for my phone to snap a pic. "I needed that picture. I needed to keep this." Oy vey, Emily. But with the encouragement of a friend, I just tried to take in what was in front of me. 

It turns out there was more than a sunset there. When I actually stopped to think about what about the sunset made it beautiful, I realized that it was the people sitting before it. They were laughing and joking around, taking in the sunset and truly taking in each other. 

I started thinking about how quickly they had become another family in my life. I was late in the game and joined the group way after the core family was formed, yet it didn’t seem to make a difference. They treated me as if I’d always been there. As if this had always been my home. I was captivated by their ability to love so freely. And man, I wanted to hold onto them.

I’m moving away from Colorado very soon and everything about that scares me. Another move. Another set of goodbyes. Another reason I desire to pull out my phone and capture the love on a screen, so I can trick myself into thinking it will make it less painful to let it go. 

But as I sat on the rooftop with my friends, I realized that things get real the minute someone honestly desires to know you and you, in turn, let yourself be truly known. I realized that this goodbye was going to hurt. Just like the ones before had. Just like the ones in the future will. And what an ache to dang rejoice in.

I feel honored to have been given a glance into the lives of their beautiful family of friends. The way in which they have welcomed me in is truly changing the way I view love and togetherness. Their desire to give me a home here has been inspiring. Because isn't that what we all want? A home. Many of them have worked closely with the homeless and I feel as if those graces and those experiences have made room in their hearts to allow others in. They see people and they give them a place to belong, a place to call home. 

They aren’t afraid of getting hurt because they know that we are actually called to love until it does just that. Until it hurts. We must be vulnerable for the sake of the true definition of love. So I’m done trying to capture this beauty in hopes that I can hold onto it longer and I’m just going to let myself be captivated until the Lord takes me someplace new. And when that time comes, I’m going to embrace the ache because I know it's just Jesus reminding me that this is not the end.

Your next goodbye is the exact opposite of the end. It’s one step closer to the beginning. 

Emily Martinez