Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Source of Others' Unhappiness.

Josh and I wrote our own wedding vows to each other.  (Posted here if you'd like to see them!)  One thing I specifically promised Josh was this:

 "By God's grace, I promise to fulfill your emotional and physical needs, and to never ever become a source of your unhappiness."  

This particular vow keeps popping into my mind lately, but not in relation to our marriage.  (Personally, I think I've kept that promise to Josh pretty well so far!)  The problem is that I am currently the source of a lot of unhappiness for a lot of people.  Primarily, the people I care about the most in the entire world. Not because I've been mean or cruel to them, but because we are moving away for three years and having our first child far away from friends and family. (Which is its own odd form of cruelty, now that I think about it.)  Despite the fact that I know our families and friends are happy for us and support us, I know that our pending departure is causing them a lot of pain, sadness, and unhappiness.  If I'm being completely honest with you, it is downright one of the most horrible things I have ever experienced.

Because my very nature is to be an encourager and to be positive.  So when my best friend's are crying and I am the source of their tears, I have no idea how to operate or navigate a situation like that.  What words do I say?  ("I'm sorry" feels shallow and insincere and "It's going to be okay" feels like I'm dismissive and lame.)  As excited as we are to go on this adventure, everyone else is staying behind.  We get to explore a new city, make new friends, meet new people, struggle, grow, have exciting new experiences, and learn a language.  Everyone we are leaving behind will continue living whatever adventure they are currently living, just minus Josh and Leslie.

So I'm left saying things like, "Well hey, we aren't leaving for two more weeks!" and "It's only three years!" and "We can Skype all the time!" and "Lifelong friends can handle three years apart!".  The truth is, though, that the distance sucks and we have a lot of people who are close to us who are going to have to mourn the fact that we will be absent from their lives.

and I hate it. I hate being the source of their pain. The coward in me wants to just leave unannounced; steal away in the middle of the night.  Skip the emotional goodbyes that are becoming increasingly difficult and increasingly closer every day.  The encourager in me wants to vanish and reappear on the other side of the planet and not face the fact that we are hurting a lot of people; people we love.

I just... I don't know how to navigate this.  I haven't read a book about relationships with any chapters titled, "Tips on How to Handle Being the Source of Your Loved One's Pain"or "How to Navigate Leaving and Comforting Those Who Are Being Left".  All I can do is try to stay positive and resort to speaking the truth.

"It's ok to cry. I've been crying too, and I'm really, really going to miss you."


  1. I love you! And I am so grateful that it brings me pain and sadness thinking about your departure because I know that the sadness comes from all of the joy I've had with you. If there was a way around this, someone, somewhere probably would have written a book. But no one can tell you how to mourn or even how to watch those that mourn around you. It's kind of like being at your own funeral, which is weird because you are very much alive and well. I can't imagine what you are going through, but I do know that I love you and am immensely grateful for our friendship.

  2. :(
    i hate and love this. I hate that it feels that way for you. I love your honesty as I know it is something I will be experiencing sometime in the near future. It already hurts when I hear Kendall's mom say, "I can't believe you are going to raise my grand-babies overseas. You can't. You just can't do that."

    It will only be by the grace of God that you, your friends, and family get through this.

    The Eternal reward will be more than worth it.

    PR for you guys!

  3. I believe that distance doesn't truly separate two hearts that have grown together in friendship. I believe that like your thousand string theory, there are hundreds of strings connection you to all of us through memories of laughter, conversations of love, thoughtful notes in the mail, celebrations of joy and sorrow, and the small simple moments in which we shared. And to be quite honest, I am one of the lucky ones, for our friendship exists mostly through distance and online communication already. :) I think like how you're preparing to transition into a new way of life, I think we need to perceive this change as a transition for our lives to. We must ask ourselves, what does this goodbye mean? How will we choose our friendship when it is no longer as easy as it once was due to the distance? How can we make our hearts ready? How can we help make Leslie's heart ready? Through asking myself these questions, I always find peace with your departure. God has used you in some amazing ways in our lives already, and He will use you in some amazing ways in this next step of the journey. I don't know what your gifts and talents quiz said, but Les, you move people, you change people with grace and love. You are so unique with your heart and talents, it doesn't seem right to limit you to one corner of the earth. With all this being said, I love you and am so d*mn proud of you. "Wherever you go, go with all your heart"- Confucius

  4. I cried when I read this. You've articulated my sentiments perfectly! Though we're still a few months out, the mourning process (on both sides) has already begun and I'm struggling with it. I'm praying for you guys as you're getting ready, I'm excited for you, and I'm thankful to have met you before this whole crazy adventure begins!