Saying Good-bye is hard to do!
On February 19th, the Knetsch family rolled out of Hamilton, Ontario. I drove a 26-foot U-haul and my wife, Heather, drove our little Corolla with our two boys Mark (3) and Deacon (6 months). Leaving our home in Hamilton, Ontario was very difficult. I compared the process of moving to pulling out a carrot out of the ground. You have no idea how deep that root goes. It’s only when you start pulling at it that you realize, “Man, this root goes way down!” The tugging at the heart took its toll. Saying good-bye to a community that you love and vice versa wasn’t easy. Each face we said good-bye to has a history and a story. Some of these faces we know better, some we don’t know as well. But in community, when you serve a covenantal unit of people, it’s difficult then to leave these invested relationships. From my colleague Henry, to those who have heard my preach for hours over the years, it’s hard to say bye. We also had a great group of friends whom we will miss dearly. Of course, then there’s the good-byes to the members of the family who lived closer to us. My parents and brother helped us move, and I tried to procrastinate the formal good-bye all day long. Knowing that both my parents and my brother and his wife will be visiting in March is a great comfort. The reality of living further away from our church community and family hasn’t really sunk in yet I think.
I broke down at dinner time with my grandparents on the 19th. We were planning on leaving earlier that day, but we ended up leaving at 7:00pm. At dinner time, I asked my grandparents if they had an advice for how to handle the hurt of leaving. My grandfather at first said, “Just know you go with our blessing.” But after thinking further, he said with a serious look in his eyes, “It’s hard now to leave, but my hope is that the next time you leave a community, it will be even harder.” After a moment to digest his words, his sentiment was deep. He’s challenging me to keep setting roots deep wherever we are- to keep loving and to keep receiving love. That’s the goal now.
When we walked out of my grandparents apartment, I thanked my grandmother for reading Psalm 121 as she closed dinner. She than told me that that was the psalm the pastor read to them the Sunday before they immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in the 1950s. They blessed us so much as we left Canada and shifted into gear towards the South to start a new community.
Throughout this process, we have prayed, and prayed, and prayed. We will continue to pray now that we’ve arrived, because in that prayer we sense the nearness and closeness of our Heavenly Father. That is one relationship that stays. There are no good-byes with Him as we now begin a journey of new hellos with others in the South.