Bittersweet Farewells


I have been thinking a lot lately about losses and saying goodbyes.

My time at Emmaus came to a close in December. When I look back on the few months I was there, though, I’m in awe of some of the men who opened up to me. What a privilege it was to earn their trust so soon, to be their confidant, and to be called friend.

Near the end of my time, a man called me sister. I was hesitant to accept that title at first. Thoughts about my role as a sister are clouded by feelings of regret and helplessness. I also didn’t know if I would be crossing an emotional boundary. But as I questioned whether to accept that title, I heard God’s voice speaking to my heart, saying, “He’s right. You are family.”

So I thanked him and said that, while I was leaving soon, there were other sisters and brothers in the ministry that he can trust to love and care for him. My hope is that I modeled a healthy way of letting go and saying goodbye for him and all the men at Emmaus.

Saying goodbye to a place and people you love is never easy. I’m reminded of the words of a very wise woman who once told me that every gain, no matter how great, is actually a loss too. As the days go by, I’ve come to appreciate how much I gained in my months at Emmaus. I became part of a family filled with so much baggage, talent, beauty, color, and culture. Surely, this is the kingdom of God.

I pray that all who walk through the doors of Emmaus, though they’ve experienced great loss and suffering, cling to the hope that is God himself, for He is the greatest gain of all.

“…whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him…” — Philippians 3:7-9

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