Obviously, over the last month we said goodbye to a lot of people in Tennessee. With our move to Indiana looming like a long shadow over everything we did, I couldn’t help but think about the many other times I’ve said goodbye to people over the years. Some of the farewells were very memroable and I kept thinking of them over and over. I’ve decided to compose a Top Ten list of the most memorable goodbyes I’ve experienced in my lifetime. I have decided to keep deaths and funerals out of the picture because…well…I just didn’t want to include them. I also did not include any of the many goodbyes we’ve said during our move back to Indiana. Oh, and speaking of goodbyes, I have posted today’s sermon on
10. “Do you wanna break up?”
So, I dated this girl for almost 2 1/2 years. Towards the end, I knew it was time to break it off. I kinda let it linger for several months because I just couldn’t come up with the right words to break it off. In other words, I was a chicken. I came home after a date with her and she called me immediately. I was obviously disconnected. She asked what was wrong and I didn’t really say anything of importance (again – I was a big ol’ chicken). Then, out of the blue, she said, “Do you wanna break up?” “Yeah, I thnik so,” I replied. And that was that. It’s pretty memorable because it was so – well, anticlimactic.
9. Standing Ovation
On the last Sunday of my internship at Athens Church of Christ, they took a ‘love offering’ for me. Christy and I were getting married in just a few days. I had absolutely no money and was concerned about how we were going to pay for the honeymoon. During the evening service of my last day in Athens, they announced how much was collected in the love offering and the Senior Minister said, “You get to have a honeymoon, Matt.” And the entire congregation gave me a standing ovation. I was shocked.
8. The Jurgens
Sonlife threw a going away party for the Jurgens when they moved back to Colorado. The most memorable thing, aside from signing the Napoleon Dynamite movie poster for them, was everyone stood up and shared different ways the Jurgens had impacted their lives. It was inspiring.
7. Leaving Indy
Kevin and Liz spent the day helping us pack all of our stuff into a moving van so we could move to Tennessee because I had this wild idea that I should go to seminary (and I’m glad I did it). I didn’t want them to drive away that night. At that point, I wanted to just unload all of our stuff and stay in Indy. Of course, that didn’t happen.
6. Neighbors Driving Away
My memory of this is sketchy, but I remember standing at the front door, bawling, when our neighbors across the street drove away for what I think was the last time. I know there were at least two kids – the older boy was named Patrick. They had a little girl, too. She’s the one who kmtodd23 held upside down because he thought she was a baby doll. I think they moved to Michigan. I definitely remember being sad when they left.
5. No Arrowhead – Philmont 1996
There’s a legend at Philmont that if you look over your shoulder when you’re leaving the Ranch and see the rock formation shaped like an arrowhead on one of the ridges, you’re destined to return to Philmont someday. I knew ’96 was going to be my last opporttunity to serve on staff at Philmont. As I rode the bus to the train station, I intentionally did not turn around to see the arrowhead. Now there’s no guarantee that I’ll return. It was a pivotal moment in my life.
4. “In Tennessee’s Fair Eastern Mountains…”
During my commencement ceremony at Milligan, they awarded Dr. Gwaltney, who was retiring, the Fide et Amore award (Milligan’s highest honor). Immediately after he received the award, the ceremony concluded by everyone singing the Alma Mater. There stood Dr. Gwaltney, wearing his new medal, holding the school’s official mace (whatever that is), trying to sing the Alma Mater. He couldn’t however. With every word he sang, his lip quivered more and even more tears rolled down his face. It brought a tear to my eye watching him receive the recognition from an institution he loved so much.
3. “Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, My Old Friend”
Audio Adrenaline finished their set by singing “Goodbye” to us. It was the last time I’ll ever see them live in concert again.
2. “When I Get Where I’m Going”
Bill’s farewell sermon at Crossroads Christian Church was the example of how a preacher should say goodbye to his congregation. Every time I hear the song, I see him up on stage, overcome with emotion, receiving a spontaneous standing ovation that lasted for a long time.
1. “Don’t Go, Matt!”
I was one of the first staffers to leave Beaubien (a camp in Philmont) in 1995. I had to get to school early because I was one of the guides for incoming freshmen. I had become pretty close with our cook, Dan (we called him ‘Killer’ – great name for a cook). He was pretty goofy and cracked me up a lot that Summer. When the Suburban arrived to take me away, I grabbed my backpack, told everyone bye, and Dan grabbed my legs. And wouldn’t let go. He held on to them as I walked to the vehicle. As I dragged him along, he jokingly yelled, “Don’t go, Matt! Don’t go!” I didn’t want to go, so it was tempting to listen to him.