Saying Goodbye to Friends

Some people lose friends to death, we lose friends to distance. 

Your friends leave at a dizzying rate when you live in a large city. They use the city for what they need: a promotion, some exposure, a challenge, or an education. Then they leave to live in a place that is easier and cheaper. Of course, they are trading the culture of the city for fast-food and the life-sucking monotony of the suburbs, but I'm not bitter! You're bitter! 

There's no getting around it. You have to learn to say goodbye to friends.

Dealing with Grief

If you don't learn to deal with grief, you will pay for your ignorance. It will make you WAY more susceptible to temptation. You will over-eat, over-drink, numb yourself, or pick your favorite besetting sin and dig right in. 

But when you acknowledge it you can deal with it. When you name it, you can face it. 

God has a lot to say about loss, whether it's the earth-shattering loss of a loved one to death or the loss of friend to distance. Here is a selection of helpful guidance:

1. gather with common friends

Romans 12:15 reminds us to "mourn with those who mourn." You know what that tells me? It's not good to mourn alone. Sometimes when a great friend leaves town we'll unofficially hold what I call a Boston Wake. After the person leaves, all the common friends will get together and remember the person with food, stories and laughter.

2. Remember that grief is temporary

Psalm 35 promises, "Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." For the Christian, the grief of losing a friend to distance is temporary because heaven is the ultimate reunion that we look forward to. Your relationship with the person hasn't ended, it has simply changed dramatically. It does hurt, but eternity always puts today in perspective and not vice-versa. You can't judge heaven's fairness by todays feelings, but you can evaluate today's feelings in light of eternity.

3. Bring Your Grief to God

Psalm 13 starts by asking God, "How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?" However in just a few short verses he can already say, "But I trust in your unfailing love." There is a way to bring pain and faith to God in the same breath, and it is a faith that God is pleased with.

4. learn to see each end as a new beginning

The resurrection of Jesus is the greatest of example of this in the history of the world! Our God is so powerful that he never wastes an ending. Instead He makes it a new beginning. Isn't this the story of your own baptism, too? You died to an old life, and it was scary, but it was the beginning of a new work God was doing in you. When you are wracked with grief and sadness, you don't deny those feelings, but right there in the middle of them you can begin to ask God: what new beginning will you bring forth from this ending. Isaiah 43:19 "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."

[Thank you for reading! If you are looking for a church in Boston or churches in Boston please consider giving Renewal Church a try!]

Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash