One of the hardest parts of living in community, I think, is saying good bye.
I might not always agree with you. I might not like everything you do. But you have become a part of this place that I call my home. And when you leave, the community changes - my home changes. You take with you all of the gifts that you shared with the community, all of the things you brought and offered to the rest of us here. The community is inevitably a different place once you've left it.
Sure, we can console ourselves and we can say that we are different now because of your time with us. You have changed us all in ways which we might not yet know or understand. We can say that we are better people because of our time together. We can also say that you are taking us with you. You have been changed because of your time with us and you will take what you have learned and what you have become during your time here with us out into the world. And all of that is true. And all of that is good.
But the truth still remains - you will no longer be here with us. We will not get to hear your stories or listen to your music. We will not get to enjoy each others' company in the same way that we have while you've lived here. There will be empty spots that were once filled by you. We will all adapt, us and you. Other people will come and that space will be occupied, although never really filled.
Life will go on. That's what it does. This community will go on after you are gone, just like it did before you were here. But please know that there will always be a place here for you. There will always be a hole that only you will be able to perfectly fill. No matter where you go, or how long you are gone, I hope you know and feel and believe that you will always have a place here that you can call your home.