I didn't think I was a person that hated goodbyes. I've left so many people and places in my life that I've gotten pretty good at them. I enjoy change. I like fresh starts and new beginnings. But right now in my life, every new opportunity means another goodbye. The good is tinged with sadness. I guess that's always the way it is on this side of heaven.
The goodbyes are surrounding me. I'm saying goodbye to clients, my school, community, friendships, rhythms of life, family, musical comrades, trivia buddies, favorite restaurants and venues, my house, and even my car shop. I've spent many years trying to escape Knoxville, and now as I'm finally presented with the opportunity to leave, I find myself hesitating on the precipice.
That which we know is always more comfortable than that which is unknown. It takes risk to gamble on a future that isn't defined or spelled out. I'm not a risk-taker or a gambler. But without risk, there is no reward. Someone told me once to always live life on purpose, lest you wake up one day and realize you are somewhere that you never intended to go.
Goodbyes are painful, but they bring a closure that we need and that we do not always do well. It's easier to avoid them, because they involve embracing the pain. Simply allowing someone to leave your life is easier than saying goodbye. I know because I've always been someone who allows people to leave my life fairly easily. But if I am going to ask my clients to face the pain of goodbye, I must be willing to do it myself. I cannot avoid the end and loss of my relationships. I cannot pretend that things will not change. And I cannot regret a single ounce of my investment in them, even though the happiness then adds to the pain now.
I'm trying to learn to both embrace and let go, for the letting go is just as much a part of the embrace as the holding on.