Dealing with change & saying goodbye to my brother

It didn’t seem like a big deal when we talked about it. I mean, yeah, it was exciting that my brother was headed off to college soon, but as far as I could tell, he was still here at home with us. But the little signs of change were starting to become more noticeable. His last day at his job came and went, and that same night, we sat down to a sweet celebratory send-off dinner with our family and his roommate (+ best friend!). Then, it came time for James to pack his whole room up.

And then, he was gone.

As we watched his Subaru rumble up the driveway, it felt real. It occurred to me that he wouldn’t be down the hall to talk to on a random Tuesday night. He wouldn’t be eating breakfast at the counter next to me or heading off to work with his lunch. For the next four years, he will be away at college.

And yes, all of this is bittersweet. It’s an adventure tainted blue for me. Because as exciting as it is to see someone you love head off on a new endeavor, it pierces your heart a little bit when you realize just how different things will be.

Chances are, last week was college move-in day for someone in your life. And whether that person is your best friend, sibling, or child, the transition brings a flood of joy and a trickle of sadness. And today, I don’t have any tried-and-true advice for how to make change easier. But here’s what I’ve decided to do, and maybe you can use these tips, too, whether your loved one is headed off to college or anywhere else far from your arms –

1. Look at it through their eyes – College (and any other big life change) is an absolutely exciting adventure! I’m so grateful that my mom and I were able to drive to the university my brother will be attending, help him move in, and see just where he will be spending these next four years. Feeling the happy vibes, meeting friendly people, and seeing his space helped me remember that this is his time. It’s his new, exciting adventure and one that I need to keep cheering him on in! Plus, he’s going to have so much fun (hopefully not too much fun…) and that’s worth it all to me.

2. Look forward to the next time you’ll see them – Let’s not get too crazy here, people. They aren’t getting shipped off to some deserted island by themselves! My brother’s only five hours away, and I know that there will be plenty of opportunities for him to come home and for me to take a road trip. However, if there’s more distance between you and the one you miss, look at it this way: that means you’ll have more things to catch up on and talk about when you finally get to see them! “Distance makes the heart grow fonder,” they say! 🙂

3. Pray for them – I have been praying for my brother daily. For his constant safety, good health, overflowing joy, peace in his heart and mind, low stress-levels, new friendships, comfort, and more. I have so much peace about my brother going away to college because, while people who’ve been with him his entire life can’t go with him, Someone else who has been with James his entire life can and is always with him. God is his protector, his shield, and his Heavenly Father. James is in good, good hands.

So lay down any anxiety or fear you have tonight, friends, about your loved one going to college, or going anywhere far away for that matter. Look on the sunny side. Pray for them to trust in the Lord during this big change, and at the same time, pray for your own ability to trust. Trust it all to the Lord because He knows the plans He has for them. He does not have harmful plans, only prosperous ones. He will give them hope and a future. It may be out of your control, but it still remains in His. They’re going to be just fine…after all, this is a new, exciting, and necessary adventure that is going to build character and memories in their heart, and fondness in yours.

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