I have loved

 

I’ve never liked goodbyes.  When my daughter was little she would refuse even to say the word, as if by not acknowledging someone’s departure she could somehow prevent it from happening.  There are days when I wish I could work that kind of magic myself.

But goodbyes, and the grief that accompanies them, are a part of life that we can’t avoid.

This week we’ve said goodbye to yet more good friends.  People that we have loved, laughed and shared life with, and who are now off to start a new chapter in another part of the world. It happens, all the time. For some it’s a temporary farewell, because we know that one way or another, we will see them again. But we don’t know how many years that might take, and we will miss them.  They take a part of our hearts with them.

It hurts to say goodbye. And sometimes a little voice whispers that it would safer to love less; to not invest pieces of my heart in friendships with people who will inevitably leave;  that this sadness and sense of loss is my own fault and that perhaps I should have guarded my heart better.  And I certainly won’t cry, because that would be silly.

In some cultures people know how to grieve well.  I suspect that some of us have lost touch with that a bit.  We treat grief of all kinds like an illness, something mysterious that you need to get over as quickly as you can and avoid wherever possible.

And yet grief isn’t a malfunction. It’s not a sign that something is broken and need fixing.  It’s actually the reverse. It’s a sign that you have done what you were supposed to do, a medal of honour to say that you have loved.

CS Lewis wrote this: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.”  Grief is a risk we take when we love.

I’m reminded of this from Ecclesiastes:

there is a time for everything, a season for every activity under the sun
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot
a time to kill and a time to heal
a time to pull down and a time to build up
a time to weep and a time to laugh
a time for mourning and a time for dancing

 

This is how life is. Goodbyes and grief happen. There are seasons where weeping and mourning and perhaps even anger are the appropriate emotions to feel and to express.  But I love that this piece of poetry also sparkles with hope.  There will also be seasons of healing and building, laughing and dancing to come, at the right time.

So that’s the postcard of the moment.  When you’re mourning, for whatever reason, you may not want to do it loudly, but do it without shame.

Wear it as a medal of honour – I have loved.

medal

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “I have loved”

  1. Thanks Ellie, I totally agree and am so pleased you thought making friends was worth it. You are so so welcome at our house if you are ever in the UK. WE miss you and the friends we made already. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Ellie . This came into my inbox while I was very busy visiting my very sick mother in hospital on June 30th . We cared for her but had to say farewell to her on 4 th September 2016. Although she was 95 and ready to go to her eternal home , I was still grieving her loss and struggling to get back into my family life after caring for her intensely for 3 months with my sister. Then this Monday God prompted me to read this post as it was still unread in my Inbox. It was the exact moment I needed to read this and the painting and all your words have encouraged and helped me this week. I am feeling I am not grieving now but wearing that medal of honour I HAVE LOVED . I now know it was ok to feel what I felt the last month but healing has happened since reading this Postcard from Heaven Bless you for this word and thank you Lord you kept it safe in my INBOX until the right time . HIs timing is always perfect.
    Bless you as you continue to write all that the Holy Spirit is speaking into your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Dorothy. It is so beautiful when God uses a postcard to breathe life and love and healing into someone’s heart. And it’s really, really encouraging to read about it, thank you for taking the time to write about it. Ellie x

      Like

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