Sam Smith’s song, Too Good At Goodbyes is a beautiful song, with a painful message. It starts with “You must think that I’m stupid/You must think that I’m a fool.” No, Mr. Smith, I don’t think you are either. I think you are ignorant to true love. True love is an investment in another person. True love is a selfless gift and does not look for anything in return. Any investor knows that the market has ups and downs, but you never pull out at the bottom.

Personally, I am no good at goodbyes. I have trouble letting go of anyone, so if you are a part of my life, you should probably know that I am not going to let go of you easily. If we are together, I am not spending time with you, I am investing my time in you.

When I was in middle school, I moved to Kentucky. One of my first friends in 6th grade was Chris Rice.  We only saw each other on Sundays because we went to different schools, but we were usually at the church together for hours. We sometimes cut choir practice to have fun. 

One day, in 8th grade we were hanging out at the church. It was Sunday afternoon and no one was around. Somehow we wound up on the roof; it was probably my idea. The pastor saw us and the next week I was called into my youth pastor’s office and told that I was not allowed to see Chris again. The gravity of that loss still affects me today, more than 25 years later.

He and his older sister had been adopted out of the foster care system. His mom was a social worker. After that day on the roof, he was placed back into foster care, so not only was I not allowed to see him, I never even saw or spoke to him again. I tried calling the boys’ home. The phone would ring, but I felt nervous, so I hung up. Then one day I mustered up the courage and called and asked for him, but it was too late. He had already been moved. 

A few years ago, I befriended his sister on Facebook. I asked her about him, but she never responded to the question. The pain of the loss still hurts. Partially because I feel responsible, but I still miss my friend. My mom probably thought he was a bad influence on me, rather than vice versa.

Being terrible at goodbyes means that you are willing to risk the pain of being hurt because your friends are worth it. They are worth investing in. They are worth your commitment. So be terrible at goodbyes. Be willing to forgive. Give lots of chances.

In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” 

Be slow to trust. Be slow to give your heart away, but once you decide to let someone into your life, be quick to forgive.

Dear God,

Please help me to be willing to forgive 77 times. Search me; if there is anyone I need to forgive, please help me to let go of that hurt. Thank you for helping me to be terrible at goodbyes. I know that opening up myself to love others also exposes me to the risk of being hurt, but that the risk is worth it. I know that I cannot have any relationship without some degree of pain. So, thank you for healing my heart when I feel hurt. Thank you for filling me with Your love when I feel empty and when I am in pain. Thank you that if people let me down, I can trust you never will because you have promised that You will never leave me, or abandon me.  Thank you for your unexpected blessings today; I feel excited to find them.

In Jesus name, Amen

“Wink at small faults; remember thou hast great ones.” — Benjamin Franklin