We did keep in touch. We stood in each others' weddings and watched graduations and kissed Natalie's baby and prayed for direction in each others' lives. We took road trips and set up group texts and met for lunch on Saturdays.
On Sunday, we reconvened for a wonderful going away party generously thrown by these friends. The scene was different - a home instead of an apartment, pacifiers, new husbands and boyfriends, different styles, needing to go home to get up for work the next morning. But there was good food - bread and cheese and sugar - and an even greater time spent together.
Earlier that afternoon, Dustin went to his last Pastor Search Team meeting. Meaning he left me alone with my emotions and thoughts and over-producing tear ducts. We had tearfully said goodbye to our church family that morning. A church family that will be irreplaceable but who lovingly commissioned us to a new part of the country and a new part of life. Once D got home, I was a nervous wreck - nervous to face the goodbyes of that night.
I shouldn't have been nervous. Once we had all filled the seats in Nat's new living room, we laughed and talked about old trips and funny stories. And then we laughed some more. Even though I shed some tears while walking to our car that night, I was so thankful for how it had turned out. Thankful that we were able to relive some of our best nights together. Thankful that it felt so normal and so right. Thankful that it didn't seem like an ending. It was, I believe, a proper goodbye.
This night should be kept in a completely different drawer than my lunch with Hannah the next day. Bistro Byronz tasted better than ever as our conversation tiptoed around the fact that, simply, I'm moving far away. Once out of public we silently sobbed the full length Government Street and then some in the capitol parking lot. I have not felt that heart broken since the catastrophe of 2007:
After a wonderful lunch and party at the office yesterday, I think the goodbyes are winding down. I feel my heart shifting to the next set of hopes and concerns. I'm wondering if the timing will work out with the movers and if Molly will go into labor mid-move and how we'll find another church community without comparing them to our CP family and when we'll find friends and if they'll be quiet or funny or sweet. But right now I'm thankful for those who love us enough to remind us that God has a sovereign plan and, no matter what that turns out to be, that it is for our best. I'm thankful that, though this is new to me, there are friends that have gone ahead of us and now offer advice and comfort of understanding
And I'm thankful for Dustin. For his talents and his organization and his care to detail and his deep love. And I'm thankful that I know that this will become even more true in our lives because of this move:
To those walking through this goodbye time with us, I want to thank you for your hugs and fellow tears and prayers. You have made this time, which I feared I would fly right through, incredibly special and meaningful. You mean the absolute world to us, and we look forward to finding out what this relationship looks like long-distance. We love you.