The Good in Goodbye
September 13, 2018
Brodie Croyle, Executive Director
Goodbyes can be painful and the children who call Big Oak home feel the sting of them more than most. For some of our children, they’ve endured these heavy goodbyes so many times, it becomes expected and an ordinary part of life. Big Oak Ranch exists to give our children, not a goodbye, but a welcome home, and to introduce them to a Savior who offers eternal life free of separation and fear. The following is a testimony from one of our girls, who not only accepts and proclaims this Gospel Hope, but reflects on the good in her goodbyes.
Goodbye – the weight of this word is felt differently depending on the situation. Sometimes it’s said out of routine or a kind gesture, as in “Goodbye, see you tomorrow,” and other times it marks a new season of life, leaving one changed forever. It’s not the ordinary goodbyes that pierce the heart, but instead the goodbyes that result in true separation. There is no way to offer or receive them without feeling pain. No matter how hard you try, you can never fully prepare yourself for the brokenness they can bring.
In my short 17 years, I’ve experienced my fair share of goodbyes. When I was two years old my dad left. My mom was an alcoholic so the journey ahead was anything but easy. At the age of eight, it was decided that my mom could no longer adequately care for me and I moved in with my aunt and uncle. A year went by and my mom wanted another chance at raising me, which we all gave her. However, this lasted for about three months, at the end of which I moved in with my grandmother. Four months later I said goodbye to my grandmother and moved to Big Oak Ranch. This series of goodbyes couldn’t have prepared me for the one I was about to experience. Four years after moving to Big Oak I was faced with one of the hardest goodbyes of my life, an unexpected turn I never imagined. My mom had been in and out of the hospital for a couple of years, but every time she went in, she always came back out. I got a phone call from her one day and she said, “I don’t know when I will be able to see you again.” My mom had a history of calling and canceling visits so I started to think this was just another one of those times. The next weekend I wasn’t hanging out with my friends or spending time with family, but instead sitting in a hospital room watching my mom’s life come to an end. It was a goodbye that pierced me deeper than any before.
Although my story seems heart breaking, there has been good in the goodbyes. The ones that led to my family at Big Oak Ranch changed my life forever. Even though my goodbyes did not stop when I moved to the Ranch, I now have a family that celebrates in my victories, carries me through my pain and helps me get back up. Along the way, I’ve realized a life-changing truth - where we end is where Jesus begins. He was there at the beginning, He was there through every goodbye, and He’s still here with me now. He revealed Himself through one of the darkest times in my life and taught me that it’s when we are weak and completely dependent that God does His best work. He didn’t promise a life free of heartbreak, but He did promise to carry us through every single time. God is FAITHFUL, and there is purpose in the pain!
I still can’t tell the story of my goodbyes without crying, but isn’t that the beauty in our stories? They have made us who we are today and they shape who we are becoming. They have taught us lessons we didn’t know we needed. They lead us to lean on a God who will never let us down. The pain is real, the struggle is real, but so is Jesus. He was, He is, and He will always be with us, leading us, guiding us and picking us up when we cannot walk through it alone. There is good in our goodbyes.