Last night we had a good-bye party for two of our colleagues who are moving overseas - one to Australia and one to the U.S. It seems like we've had to say good-bye to so many people in such a short amount of time - in the past three years I can think of at least eight people we've become friends with who have left South Africa.
The thing with good-byes is that they never becomes easier. In fact, the more you have to say them the harder it becomes. I find myself wanting to wall-off emotionally, pretend as though I'll see these friends next week, or just flat out engage in denial. But that's not healthy.
If you want to have deep relationships, you have to take risks. Pain of separation is just one of those risks. In the film Shadowlands, which portrays the life of C.S. Lewis, the main character says at the film's conclusion: "Why love if losing hurts so much? I have no answers any more. Only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I've been given the choice: as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That's the deal."