Goodbye. Since I've been in college it’s become one of my least favorite words. Goodbye doesn't care if you are ready or not. It doesn't wait for a convenient time and it doesn't take its sweet time. Thousands of clichés have been made about it; “be thankful you have someone it is hard to say goodbye to”, “goodbye until we meet again”, “I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello”, etc. etc. etc. But the most truthful cliché is that, in the moment, “there is no good in goodbye” because goodbye hurts. And I hate it. And I’m not ready to say it again on Saturday.
As a freshman, I was blessed to be one of the lucky few squirts to make upperclassmen friends. I’m honestly not quite sure how it happened, but while it was incredibly nice and I wouldn't trade it, it has meant that every year of college, I've lost good friends to graduation. The nice thing is that it has only been around five friends with each graduation...until this year. This year I’m losing over half of my friend group, a couple of the best friends I've ever had, and a professor who has been like a second father to me.
The last week has been a combination of mixed emotions as I balanced work with friends, spending quality time with people who will soon be graduating. Joy took Sorrow’s hand and they have walked together. Those who are leaving, during this week, I have coveted your time like a thirsty man craves water.
To my friends who are leaving (you know who you are), I thank you for all of the time you have shared with me. I do not deserve friends as excellent as you. Proverbs 13:20 says “He who walks with wise men will be wise” (MEV). I promise you that I have walked with them and it is my hope that they have rubbed off on me, even just a smidgen.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one, because there is a good reward for their labor together. For if they fall, then one will help up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has no one to help him up” (MEV). When I have fallen, you have picked me up. Through late night conversations and fast food runs, hiking and camping trips, hall events, plays, rehearsals, choral concerts, school trips, classes, impromptu adventures and so much more, you have walked with me through the laughter and the tears, the good times and the bad. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for that. Because of you, I am a better person.
But as you all move on to a new chapter of your life, you have my word that you will be in my prayers. May God bless your endeavors and may you cling to him. Know that if you ever need a friend, someone to talk to, or have a favor to ask, assuming I don’t have rehearsal (just kidding...but really though...), come hell or high water, I will do everything in my power to be there for you. So as I say goodbye to you on Saturday for however long, know that I love each and every one of you. May our paths cross again and until then, as Paul said in Philippians 1:3, “I thank my God every time I remember you” (NIV).