Coming to Terms with Goodbyes

June 22, 2015

Pixar creates masterpieces. It's as simple as that. Growing up, they spoon fed me my childhood with classics like Toy Story and Monster's Inc.. Time and time again, they produce beautiful films that rarely disappoint. As a devoted writer of unique and driven story lines, I am what my mother refers to as a "brutal movie critic" (it's unfortunate to be around me when a movie finishes, let's just be honest), but Pixar has taken the animated film industry to the next level.

 

It is impressive, what they do, Meliah. But you know something even more impressive? A blog that doesn't talk so much about children's shows. Yeah, that's cool. 

 

This weekend I went out with one of my girl friends on a bonafide ladies' night, and it was fabulous. She graciously put up with my driving and I didn't throw her through a windshield, it was great. We also went to Disney Pixar's latest brain child Inside Out. It is highly unlikely you haven't seen at least one advertisement, but in case you need a reference, check it out down below. 

 

 

Cute, right?

 

Adorable. 

 

You're impossible. Anyway, the movie follows young Riley and her five core emotions as she is uprooted from her childhood home and thrust into the concrete jungle of downtown San Fransisco. There are a lot of lessons riddled througout this film, but one hit me like a ton of bricks. If bricks could slap people, I'd be all black and blue and whatnot.

 

Riley is an 11-year old girl and the only child to two loving, encouraging middle-class parents. It is explained that within Riley's head, there are five "islands" that are the foundations of Riley's character: Family, Friends, Honesty, Athletics (Hockey) and Goofball. Every island represents an important value. However, through a series of events, the islands begin to crumble, one by one. Her emotions are all out of sorts and the poor girl suffers from what appears to be situational depression. Even though her heart was in shambles, she didn't want to disappoint her parents by telling them what she really felt about their move to California. It isn't until one of the very last scenes of the movie, did Riley tell her parents something that I felt was the most relevant thing I could have possibly written today.

 

"I know I'm not supposed to, but I miss home" 

 

Immediately, Riley's parents did three things:

1. Hugged her 

2. Reminded her of their love

3. Told her it was okay to miss home.

As a Missionary Kid, this resonated with my on a personal level. But something like this obviously doesn't just apply to people like me. It applies to you. This sort of thing is inevitable. 

 

This is where you do something for me. 

 

Take out a piece of paper, open up a Word document or whatever is easiest,  but don't just make a mental list, it'll defeat the whole purpose.  You need to see what's coming next. 

 

Make an exstensive list of what you miss. This is extremely broad, I get that, but that's the way it's supposed to be. The list can be anything from the dog you lost last summer, the tell-all relationship you had with a friend who moved away, a state of mind, a house or a country. Take some time on this, write down things as you go about the next few days. Once you get started, it'll be easier to come up with things. 

 

For reference, here's a short list of some iteams on my list

  • *Papua New Guinea (the people, culture, landscape, local food, Ukarumpa community, etc.)​

  • *Family (blood and "adopted")

  • Dad's pizzas and pies 

  • The days when I didn't have to worry about shaving & money grew on trees

  • Air Conditioning

  • My childhood dog Gigabite (yeah okay, so I'm the daughter of a computer programmer)

** In my personal list, I name each person and item that I mean specifically. I won't do this online because that's dumb, but I expect you to do it on your list. You have the option of keeping it to yourself or sharing it with loved ones. 

 

Be as specific as you can, it's much better that way.

 

Once you are finished with your life, take a gander. In some point of your life you have said goodbye to 10's and 100's of people/things that were important enough for you to remember to write them down. Now mark the ones that mean the most to you. The big ones. 

 

As a missionary kid, this list is long. The one I gave to you is as personal as I feel comfortable giving to the Internet, however, know that my actual list is much, much longer. And the reality of it all, scares me to death. If its not because I haven't actually said goodbye or appropriately dealt with the loss, it is because I am afraid to admit that I am sad. Angry. Bitter. Lonely.

 

Especially in American culture, it is exceptionally difficult to open wide enough so that people know that you are hurting. Vulnerability is a weakness in our instantaneous and arrogant culture. We can't be seen as the weakest link - if we can't be the strongest, we just have to keep it together long enough to beat the other guy. As a result, we get a lot of things done. But saying goodbye is not an issue of completion, not in reality anyway. You could say that by saying goodbye means that you're crossing over into a new chapter and in many cases, that's encouraging to know. But honestly? If you have ever said goodbye to anything more than your bed in the morning, you'll know that goodbyes aren't that simple. There is a wide range of goodbyes, but for the ones that involve places, people and cultures, it's about as complicated as it gets.

 

For some, its a pause on life. For others, its a reason to move faster. For many, the grief isn't considered until it is realized that what was there is really, actually, completely gone. 

 

Young Riley wanted to have it all figured out. As an 11-year old, she didn't have much to figure out, of course, but the concept is the same. She wanted to be okay. She wanted to like her new school. She wanted to find a new team. She wanted to feel like she belonged. 

 

I am so much like this girl, it's a little ridiculous. 

 

After leaving Papua New Guinea, I didn't want to think that maybe I wasn't okay. I didn't want to think about finding another belonging. I didn't want to admit that I missed home. I was afraid that if I did, I would hurt my family and their mission. Of course, this is a nonsensical excuse, but it was exactly how I felt - and how I believe many of my fellow missionary kids feel as well. Truthfully, I was only enabling myself for failure, dropping out of opportunities to become whole again.

 

There are few things more important than learning how say goodbye and let go. Otherwise, there isn't room for a new beginning. 

 

Maybe you're not "supposed" to feel the way you feel, maybe it's unprofessional or childish. But right now, in this moment, to you, none of that matters. It still hurts. In order to say goodbye, you have to be willing to admit that you miss them in the first place. For many people (including myself), it is impossible to move on until we let ourselves hurt. This is not an excuse to wallow, but an opportunity to begin again. 

 

With Love, 

 

Meliah 

 

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.

Ephesians 3:1-15 

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