Solomon reminds us — after he starts off with a depressing monologue of the meaningless of life — that there is a season for everything under heaven. A time to hum and a time to scream because of the song stuck in your mind, I’m just saying.

A time to rejoice with friends and time to weep at their leaving.

Sunday morning I got up at 5:00 a.m. to see off my teammate Michelle as she transitions back to the U.S. We’ve been teammates for two years and even though I’m old enough to be her mother {say WHAT?!}, we hit it off and have become more than assigned to each other … we’re friends.

Long term readers know that on Friday night whoever wants to, meets together to watch the Biggest Loser. This photo is of the regular attenders this year (minus a few who were out of town). We had an awesome time even though not everyone would use that word, wink!

Faithful members members of the BLT -- Michelle is two to my left.

Faithful members members of the BLT — Michelle is two to my left.

My friend Lisa has been visiting this week (yea!) and will return to the States late on Monday (boo!). She lived in Beijing for nine years and is one of the most quick witted people I know. She showed her true character not through a zinger of a comment (though there was one about a cow that’s not fit to print!) but by  humoring me and going to a Zumba class on Thursday night. She’s more of a “Well, today would be a good day to run a half-marathon” kind of gal. I’m more of a “We already stand out, why not jump around a look like idiots and I really hate running”  kind of  gal, so to flail around in public was a gift to me. When she lived here we regularly went to the gym together — pre-Zumba craze — and while I sense her loss in many places, I feel it most profoundly when I have something witty to say at the gym and no one to say it to. And in a Chinese gym, the opportunities, oh people, the opportunities. I love it! Let’s just say the comments were a’flowing Thursday night followed by ice cream on the way home.

With Lisa at the Temple of Heaven

With Lisa and a drain spout at the Temple of Heaven

Wednesday will find me saying goodbye to Joann after a fun five weeks with her back in Beijing. Joann is up for an adventure, be it bells, foot massages, trying new restaurants, or getting out of Beijing for a day. There is no one who knows Beijing and the surrounding areas or what’s going on in the church better . She wrote about our latest escapade in which Lisa became quite the hit for a group of Chinese tourists.

As Joann was working on the post she emailed me this picture

This is too funny not to share!

Does it look to you like my jaw is dislocated? I didn’t know I read signs with my mouth open!

saying she had some good blackmailing potential and wouldn’t use it; that’s the kind of class act she is! We’ve all been there, right? The picture that we didn’t mean to take.  I said to go ahead and use it because this mistake is on the funny side. In case you can’t tell — no, I’m not praying to the Matchmaking god, I’m clutching my camera to my chest as I read the sign. I know, I know. Why am I reading hugging my camera or with my jaw distorted? I’m reminded how blessed I am that there are people who will be seen in public with me!

Three goodbyes in four days.

Yet that is what they are, good-byes, not bad-byes. I hate, hate, hate saying bye when it’s been good and  the laughs have been deep, the experiences positive,  food has been shared, and memories have been made. The dread of pain that sneaks in and begins to pick at the joy. 

I see the paradox, to avoid the pain, I’d miss out on the joy; they go hand-in-hand. The inside jokes, the deep conversations, the catching up that allows for deeper weaving together of lives  will also result in loss. 

Worth it? Yes, oh yes! Potential blackmail and all.

This week I’ll be in a bit of a funk. Three big byes (good or bad) in four days is enough to send anyone consoling themselves in Diet Coke, chocolate chip cookies, Zumba, and lesson preparing. In other words, life still goes on :)

But as life will be quieter without the witty banter or the ding of a text messages, my heart rejoices that I have so much to miss and looks forward to the next time we are together.

I am sad and I am grateful and they go together. Yes, yes, yes to Solomon and life’s seasons, but with our tendency towards dichotomistic thinking, at times we miss that they can happen in the same space.


This isn’t the only funny photo I have accidentally taken. There is one that involves pancakes and a cow print apron. Enough said. What accidental photos of you are floating around? What friend do you look forward to seeing?

Leave A Comment

  1. Tanya Marlow May 27, 2013 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    So much richness in these friendships – they really are ‘good’ goodbyes.

    I am in denial. Here, two of my local best friends are on a training placement will be leaving some time in the next year, and without being able to venture out of the house, I don’t know if their replacements will be able to meet me. And my best best friend in the whole wide world is threatening to move to Asia. Cos of The Lord. Grrr. That’s the sort of growl that comes from knowing you’re not really allowed to complain about it, but you’re complaining anyway.

    You know what? I think I may be a pre-griever…

    Sending you SO much love in this weird transition time. Xx

    • Avatar photo
      Amy May 28, 2013 at 6:15 am - Reply

      Tanya — I love the grrrrr :); I live in that world too! And sending love back your way too. Xx

  2. Carol May 28, 2013 at 4:40 am - Reply

    This message stirs my heart and makes me realize how many “good” byes have been really good. I am looking so forward to visiting Lee this summer and am anticipating many wonderful times building up a “good” bye. It tore my heart out last summer when he left, but like the previous post; we are not really allowed to complain about it even though we do because He made it happen and has only one place for each of us and that is in His hand. For now He has Lee in China. To prepare for the visit I have read about 10 books on China, culture, history, current living, etc books you and Joan recommended. What a blessing. So, I try not to think of the sad part when we say “good” bye and rejoice because it will not be a “bad” bye. I wish I had thought of the term “pre-griever” because it says volumes. I heartily join that club.

    • Avatar photo
      Amy May 28, 2013 at 6:11 am - Reply

      Carol — you will so enjoy walking in Lee’s footsteps for awhile! I wish I could remove the pain when the goodbye comes, but in the end, it’s worth it (even if it hurts so much you wonder at moments). Warmly Welcome to our fair land!

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