February 28, 2013

saying goodbye

i've started saying good-bye to people here at my church (work). i've done things for the last time. in fact, all i have left is one coffee time with the staff and one sunday morning with worship and children's sermons and then it's all over.

i'm tearing up as i write this.

coming into this job right out of college i never thought that my church kids would mean so much to me or that i would worry about them like i do. there have been days that kids have been in my office in tears because things weren't going right for them at school, they were being picked on, things were rough at home with mom & dad, all sorts of things. i've hugged them, cried with them, given them advice, and pointed them to a professional in a different field if that's what they needed. then i've gone home and continued to cry for them. i never, in a million years, thought that their hurt would become mine.

there have been difficult kids, ones that i sometime wish would just be quiet. there have been quiet kids, ones that i wish would just talk. there have been kids that have such big hearts, that just care about other people all the time. there have been kids with hurting hearts, ones that never seem to catch a break. there have been kids with learning disablities, ones that just, for two hours, want to be treated like everyone else. and somehow, over the past 3 1/2 years we became one group. we came from different backrounds, different social groups, but we became like a family, meeting every wednesday night for 2 hours.

saying goodbye to 'my' kids has really forced me to be present with them. i noticed myself really slowing down and listening to their stories instead of rushing to the next thing. i found myself just sitting and smiling while they were all chatting together, enjoying that they are one group. i found myself not getting annoyed that i was listening to the same story again. then i got a little sad that it had taken the end of my time here to force me to slow down and really enjoy them. why was i always so worried about what was next? so stressed to get everything done? i'm not saying that i've neglected my job during this time, but i have slowed down. and it's been wonderful.

i did ok during our last wednesday night together. during lenten dinner i talked with a few different moms about my next adventure and i was emotional. i made it through middle school youth group wtih no problem. the senior high youth group kids threw me a great going away party (angel food cake, 12 pack of diet coke, peanut butter cups, blow up dinosaur, mini mouse coloring sheet- love those kids!), and i was ok through the party- i didn't cry at all. then i went to walk out of the youth room for the last time. i took a good look around and thought about all that i had done in that room and all that those kids had taught me in there and i lost it. i cried the whole way home, then i cried some more. the mr. doesn't really know how to deal with me this week. then i opened facebook on my phone and saw these:
it's kind of blurry, but it's wonderful and it made my cry a lot.
there have been lots of nice things on twitter too. mrs_knopf if you want to check those out. and nice emails. and cards. and kind words. and hugs. sunday is going to be brutal. how do you say goodbye to the people that took a risk on you? the people that learned with you during your first call to ministry? the people that you love so much that have come to take up a huge part of your heart?
please pray for me.
tomorrow my parents are coming to help finish packing things up and to put boxes in the cargo trailer. then saturday is moving day. back to our northern town saturday night, then church one last time on sunday morning. i'll be back on monday from our new apartment to let you know how it went.
love, mrs. k

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