A Thousand Goodbyes

This week has been all about one thing (well, two, if you count packing): savoring my hometown and the things I love best in it.  I’ve ridden my horses six times this week.  I’ve eaten at my favorite local restaurants.  I’ve spent time with my closest friends and family.  And I’ve been intentional about letting all of these things soak deeply into my consciousness.

As I’ve been going about this business of savoring, I’ve found myself saying goodbye, usually just in my mind but sometimes aloud, to all of the little things that make this place my home, the things I’ll miss.  Things that are part of me.  What surprised me, though, is that all of these quiet goodbyes weren’t sad and grief-stricken, but rather serene and peaceful.  I kept thinking of the line from Rich Mullins’ song “Elijah”: “It won’t break my heart to say goodbye.”  And that’s a pretty good feeling to leave home with.

I won’t post all of the goodbyes I’ve said, but here are a few.  I’ve said some of them over and over.

Goodbye huge Texas sky.  I’ll miss the bright stars, impossibly distant horizons, and the colors that show up at sunrise and sunset.

Goodbye Mesquite barbeque and Mexican food.  I won’t stop loving you.  Ever.

Goodbye Cypress Street, and all of my favorite things about our cute, quaint downtown: The Paramount, Bogie’s, The Grace…

Goodbye rattlesnakes.  I won’t miss you!

Goodbye winter wheat and cotton crops in neat rows.  Goodbye fallow fields that stretch on forever and fill with wild sunflowers in the summer months.

Goodbye Tigger, my houyhnhmn master.  Who knew that a horse could be such a perfect teacher of horse skills and life skills?

Goodbye Junebug, my drama queen.  I could always rely on you to be perfect when I was least expecting it, and to keep things interesting the rest of the time.  I’m glad I never sold you.

Goodbye Soldier, my special blessing.  I’ll miss everything about you.  Everyday.

Goodbye dust and drought.  Please don’t follow me or try to keep in touch.

Goodbye barn.  Old hopes and dreams are stored there in tack trunks and are hidden in shadowed corners–keep them safe for a while longer.

Goodbye Buffalo Gap.  The best days of my childhood were spent there with friends riding spotted ponies.

Goodbye roads that I could almost drive blindfolded.

Goodbye ACU English Department.  I’m grateful for the time I spent there, especially as a graduate student.  This move would literally not be possible without you, and leaving you feels like leaving family.  I love you and will miss you more than you can know.

Goodbye burnt orange-upholstered stadium seats that have held me all my life.  Goodbye Highland church.  My life has been rooted in your loving company.  My spirit has been fed by your faith.  I’ll miss you the most.

Goodbye diesel truck.  I feel more like myself when I drive you.  I’ll miss the powerful growl of your engine and the smell of diesel.

Goodbye house.  I’ll miss the quiet and solitude, the rugged landscape all around, the deep blue room I have never grown tired of.

Goodbye walk-in closet.

Goodbye familiarity.  Perhaps you’ll make your way up north sometime soon.

As I’ve said these small goodbyes, I kept thinking, “I grew out of all of this like a weeping willow inclined to the appetites of gravity.” I grew out of all of this.  I grew out of all of this.  I grew.

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4 thoughts on “A Thousand Goodbyes

  1. Beautiful. Made me cry. I can’t wait to hear about what God does with you in Boston. I think you might do some growing there too.

  2. Oh, Shanna. I said all my own goodbyes just a few weeks ago. I’m there with you in spirit, sister. But there are friends waiting for you in Boston. Can’t wait to see you up here soon.

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