NO MORE GOODBYE!

5 10 2018

NoMoreGoodbyes

I know I suffer from “separation anxiety.” I do not handle the departure of loved ones very well. Maybe because the two human beings that I know truly loved me inside and out were taken from me just when I still needed them most. My “Nana” was my hero and hiding place. The only time I would ever stay overnight at another’s house when I was growing up was when I was with my amazing Grandmother. She was a little Italian lady and stood all of 4 foot 11! I was as tall as she was when I was only five. The woman loved well and wide and deep. She was the epitome of putting others before herself. Her face would beam when I walked in the room. I returned the favor. I loved her as much as a child could. But on July 2, 1965 Francis Tedesco graduated to Glory. And with her went a precious piece of my young heart. Little did I know, it would be the first of many heartaches to come.

My Daddy was my best friend. His name was Rudy also. He was the real deal. I grew up his right-hand man. I was his helper and his constant companion. I always felt safe and secure in his presence. I would call him many times and he would wax eloquently about some subject that had nothing to do with what I was talking about and yet I always felt better after I had been with him. My Father not only taught me how to live but also how to die. In early 2000, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I totally changed my plans so that I could be down in Florida with him as much as possible. It ending up totaling over seven weeks altogether during the year, but I wouldn’t trade a second of it. There was no regret as I was privileged to be holding his hand as the Lord Jesus took his other hand. My heart was shredded on that night of September 13, 2000. I knew that in Heaven he would no longer be in pain but I hated to see him go. I miss him still and with not a hint of exaggeration, I still dream about him every night even after 18 years.

This past weekend, I had to say, “See you later,” to the man who has been my closest and most valuable partner in ministry for the last ten years. Adam Nudo and his lovely wife Lori are on a pilgrimage to Arizona to reside with their three adult Daughters and their families that include two grandchildren. I was scolded for not being happier for them as they embark upon this new adventure, but I am not wired in the way that hides my feelings very well. I am known for wearing my heart on my sleeve. And as I sat in the final Lighthouse Church Service with Adam leading our worship, my insides ached. I didn’t want him to go but I knew I was not going to stand in God’s way for them. I miss them already. Nobody will ever be able to replace him. People can’t be replaced. Positions might be refilled but relationships are pure gold. The Lone Ranger and Tonto and Laurel and Hardy and Batman and Robin and Snoopy and Charlie and Rudy and Adam will always be another dynamic duo that had some incredible experiences together.

This week also brings a change of address for Tom and Barbara Crouthamel. There is not enough room in this article to tell you how much better we all are because of these two being present in our lives, our church and our community. God used this couple to give The Lighthouse Church leadership direction, wisdom and a godly witness. Tom and Barb are surrogate Parents to me. I actually went to Philadelphia College of Bible with their oldest Daughter Barbie and isn’t just like the Lord to reunite us all in this little neck of Cape May County? Barbie married Tom Savage another PCB Friend of mine and my Daughter Leah would go on to marry their Son Jeff and now we really are family! But now the Crouthamels are packing up to go on the road to be with their Families. Again, while I understand the reasons it must happen, my soul is letting them go while I am kicking and screaming to hold on. I am the kind of person that may just chain myself to their bumper. I will not be the same without them in the same zip code! I won’t pretend to be cheerful when I am truly more tearful. So why do I have such an issue with saying, “Goodbye?” Why do so many people make the mistake of playing it so safe that they keep their hearts locked in protective cases rather than allow them to get fully involved? Why do we attempt to love from a distance when we were created to function face to face? Is it because we fear being cut to the core? Is it because we are worried over it coming to an end that we may never allow a true beginning?

Do you know that separation is not in our DNA? Separation came with sin. When Adam and Eve chose to disobey the Lord, they caused a schism in the family that would never be wholly repaired this side of Heaven. This is why we struggle so much with death and departure. It is foreign territory to our spirit. Could this be why one of the most precious promises that God ever made us was, “I will never leave you nor forsake you?” Humans can’t keep that bond. We die. We move. We leave. We quit. Jesus conquered sin and death to give us the hope that in the life to come, there will be no more division. My inner being cries for that to be true now. I yearn for a world where we don’t ever have to say, “So Long” again. I believe that desire comes from the Creator Himself. Maybe we shouldn’t be so shocked when we still battle the blues years after another slice of our heart was cut away so quickly and so unwelcomingly. Maybe not all emotional tissues heal themselves. Maybe the scars are a staunch reminder that God didn’t make us robots after all!

The good news is that there is a solution via a Savior and with Him comes the promise of eternal reunion. The better news is that this gift of salvation is available to whosoever would come and humbly receive it by grace through faith. I’m going to a place where there will be no more dying and no more exit strategies. Until I get there, I have learned that the pain is a divine reminder that I am not home yet. Maybe you feel that way too and it might be more normal than you ever realized!


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One response

5 10 2018
Dennis Hall

Thanks for pouring out your heart Pastor Rudy! Makes us long for the Wedding Feast all the more when the “See you laters” hit us between the eyes and pierce our hearts! Hopefully we made the most of the time we had with those we love before we waved goodbye or felt the last squeeze of their hand. “Don’t cry that it’s over, be joyful it happened” seems so trite and meaningless in the fog of our tears! Thanks for your constant encouragement to tell “Them” how special they are, grab a hug, relish the moment, and laugh with them with grateful hearts! Love you Brother! Dennis

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