Adventures and Goodbyes

I’m sitting here with a cup of hot tea, missing bonny Scotland.  This is not unusual.  Not a day has passed in the last two months that I haven’t thought fondly of Scotland and missed it.  Most of the time, it’s a conscious thought, like, “Oh, I miss Scotland.”  But at other times, it manifests itself in a very tangible, even physical way, in an odd sort of pressure on my heart and an ache deep in my stomach.  At times like this, it’s hard to think in words.  Instead, I catch fleeting glimpses of my own heartache and can only sigh as every part of me longs to be there.  In these moments, I am emotionally present there while physically present here, torn in two different directions 4000 miles apart.

I can almost feel the brisk and exhilarating chill of the snowy air, almost hear Bernard’s familiar greeting of, “Hello, love!”, almost feel Adam’s hug and see Amy’s smile light up her face, can almost hear that adorable accent calling, “Love yoooouuu!”

Scotland was a beautiful adventure, but with all adventures come goodbyes.  While you say goodbye, though, you never really leave.  The memories take root in your heart and last a lifetime.

Now I’m getting ready to embark on a different adventure for the summer as I head to Miami, Florida, to work with a youth group down there.  I’m crazy excited, but to begin this new adventure, I have to close another chapter and say some more goodbyes.

I’ve finished out my junior year of college, and with that came the necessary emptying of the dorm room which I called home for a year.  The pictures came down from the walls, the carpet was torn out, and every trace of its uniqueness was swept away to make it clean and cold and white once more.  I’ll never see that room again.  I hugged my sweet roommate Morgan goodbye for the summer and tried to hold back the tears — the first of many.

The next round of goodbyes was to my small group at Grace Chapel.  It’s been an incredible year, and it’s been such a blessing to be a part of these girls’ lives and watch them grow.  When one of them buried her head in my shoulder and cried, it nearly broke my heart.

The family goodbyes were even more difficult.  Last night my family met in Nashville to have a last dinner together before I leave, and I hugged my big sister goodbye knowing that by the time I come back, she’ll be gone.  There won’t be any more trips to the thrift store or random movie nights.  Everything is changing.  Adventures are beautiful…but also heartbreaking.

At the end of two months in Miami, I know it’ll be just as hard to come back as it was to leave.  I’ll spend every moment I’m there forming new relationships, knowing that I have to say goodbye at the end of the summer.  I’ve left my heart in pieces all over the globe, and I know more pieces of it will be scattered far and wide as I live and love and adventure into the unknown.  Yet somehow, I know it’s all worth it.

Adventures come with goodbyes, but they also come with new beginnings and new experiences and new relationships.  They come with laughter and hope and youthful idealism.  And often, they come with an entirely new perspective on life.

You see, there’s one last goodbye I’ll have to say before I begin a new adventure, for one never comes back from an adventure unchanged.  I’ll have to say goodbye to myself.  It always feels a bit odd, really, realizing that I won’t come back the same person I was when I left.  I never do.  But it’s all part of the adventure.

My heart is heavy tonight, but not in a weary or burdened sort of way.  It’s in a very full sort of way.  I’m full of memories from my previous adventures, and full of excitement for what is to come.  I’m full of love that I’ve poured out and received back tenfold.  And perhaps most of all, I’m simply full of life.

Published in: on May 29, 2013 at 1:37 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Exactly how I feel about Ukraine! Lauren, I have discovered that everything boils down to relationship. Build your memories on those precious people you encounter. I pray God’s blessings on you as your pour your life during your brief (but intense) ministry this summer!

    • Truth! Thank you, Darryl!! I would love it if you would shoot me an email and tell me more about your experience in Ukraine! My email address is

  2. I know exactly how you feel. We lived abroad in Korea for three years. It was an exciting adventure but maintaining your heart in “many” places is very hard. Blessing to you!!

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