I have to admit something that I am not super proud of. I am really bad at goodbyes. Yet at the end of every semester, I am forced to to go through them again. And let me give you a little secret of mine, I hate making a big deal out of goodbyes and so I honestly leave really early in the morning on the last day of the semester and drive away before others are awake. Do not worry— they know I have gone and I have said my goodbyes, but there is something about that last moment. It is not that I am actually incapable of saying goodbye or do not have a strong sense of closure, but Biola has given me the most beautiful and genuine community of brothers and sisters in Christ that I have spent my whole life praying over and it is just really hard to say goodbye to all of them because I do not want the goodbye to come. And so when we were given days to evacuate in the middle of the week in the middle of the semester in the middle of my time at Biola, how on earth was I going to say goodbye?
Goodbyes are hard and challenging, especially when they feel as though time has been robbed and taken from us. My friends at Biola are the biggest blessings, I am in a new relationship, Mock Rock was in the peak of its craziness with the competition only practices away, and I absolutely love my job as an Ambassador. A lot of that was physically taken away all of a sudden. My heart broke as I drove away, and this time I made sure I said bye to everyone and that I hugged them hard. I cried, I was angry and sad and confused. Saying goodbye to Biola in the middle of March and feeling as though I had been robbed was the hardest goodbye I have ever had to say, so why am I writing about it?
This goodbye to Biola was my hardest goodbye due to the blessing of this unbelievable community that I have found while being here. I have never seen the body of Christ be exemplified to tangibly and physically that it has here at Biola. And it broke my heart because of the collective loss we all faced and the fact that we all had to say goodbye to something: whether it was a floor community, the physical presence of best friends, extracurriculars or sports seasons that required commitment to for months and months, jobs, professors, the sense of normalcy and comfort, and a thriving Christian community. We have all said goodbye to something in this season, and I know that you have too, friends.
As I was driving away from Biola on that rainy March day, (of course it was raining, it was matching my tears) I was reminded of the fact that I am so thankful to have a place that is so challenging and heartbreaking to say goodbye to. Biola University is a gift in how it makes you never want to leave. The love of Christ is so evident while at Biola and as you walk its pathways, but that love is not just reserved for Biola’s perimeters. That love follows you everywhere you go. It follows you back home to your family or your loved ones that you are with right now. The love and joy and peace of Christ is within you right now, even during these challenging times.
I know that you have had to say goodbye to something that you love during this season, and I am so sorry. The pain of saying goodbye to things that you are not supposed to say goodbye to during this time is heartbreaking and sometimes even un-explainable. I just wanted to encourage you in this time of uncertainty to thank God even for the creation of things that are so challenging to say goodbye to and to give thanks for what already was. He also sees and knows your heart, He sees and knows your desires, and He sees and knows how much work and effort you have put into those things that we have to say goodbye to. All of those things do not go unseen to Him and He will honor them.
Furthermore, even though my heart broke as I said goodbye to the amazing Biola community two months too early, we also never have to say goodbye to the overwhelming peace and hope that the Lord provides even amongst uncertainty. I know we have lost so much, but may we never forget the truth of the fact that we do not have to say goodbye to the love that the Lord extents to you during this time and always. No one has ever been through something like this before, the only being who has any idea of what is going on is the Lord, so may we put our trust in the One who created hope, control, and peace. He draws so near to you, He is with you always, He has gone before you, and He will carry you through. We never, ever, have to say goodbye to that.
I am really bad at saying goodbye, probably because I never want to say goodbye to a community like Biola. But being miles and miles apart does not stop the community and genuine love felt for each other. I have been blessed to have such a hard goodbye, because that means that I have actually been impacted by these individuals. And you will feel that too and I am so excited for you to experience a community that you never want to leave. A hard goodbye is a good goodbye.
Friends, please know that we are praying for you. I am so sorry for what you had to say goodbye to, but lean into God during this season, for I am sure that He will show you something new to say hello to.