So many good-byes so close together this summer.
The “changing of the guard” is simultaneously taking place in multiple homes of our family, causing hearts to short-circuit from the emotional overload of joy, happiness and yes, sadness.
As the season of summer is about to place the baton in the hand of its running partner called fall, closing up swimming pools and beaches in exchange for cozy sweaters and campfires, our family in its relay-race are in our lane and in position for the handoff of many good-byes.
Good-bye is our bookend to hello.
A shelf of memories stacked between each bookend, keeping each scrapbook firmly placed between so many years of good-byes and hellos.
While our good-byes can stir up a whirlwind of joy as does its partner of hello, it’s just embracing the vision of the hello when “letting go” in our good-bye causes so much emotion.
This summer our family has embraced so many good-byes so close together.
While the shades of good-bye vary as the colors in the rainbow, good-bye nevertheless requires an exchange of the baton in our heart.
Just yesterday, our niece and her family said their last tearful good-bye in exchange for a three year hello to the mission field located across the world. Selling their house, packing a fraction of their belongings and mustering up a few smiles in the kids to make a difference for Christ in the lives of many less fortunate. Leaving behind grandparents who had to freeze frame five smiles to their memory, keeping that picture close to comfort them as a security blanket when their empty arms ached to hold them on a lonely day.
Yet the hello of good-by is a beautiful picture framed in God’s smile, when you sacrifice everything for a place and people about to be invaded with God’s love upon your arrival, taking on a role of servant, proudly wearing those aprons to serve them for the next three years.
While it seems that we as a family have been saying good-bye all summer long to our military children and grandchildren as they pack for the next duty station across the ocean and far away from here, the clock is finally ticking and their plane is scheduled to leave the runway in four short weeks. While our grandchildren have never lived in a neighborhood or state in arms reach of us, the drive or flight has always been feasible for grandparents desperate to hold and squeeze four adorable children that call us Gaga and Papa.
But now as our children and grandchildren bid their good-bye and close the door of life as they know it, they say hello to a three year adventure in the unknown. Yes, our son has his military orders that detail his commitment. Yet the hello of surprises that God has planned for them excite us, as a good God always has good plans. Plans that grandparents who have no earthly idea how they will be included, but trust that God hasn’t forgotten them either.
A grandparent’s heart wants to dig in their heels and stall the inevitable good-bye, but knows it would rob their children and grandchildren from those wonderful new beginnings secretly planned for them in God’s hello.
While the plane still in the air with our five missionaries the other day, another good-bye was taking place at the same time on the ground between two people in love. After a long courageous battle of cancer, papa looked at the “love of his life” for the very last time. You never saw one without the other. Always seen sitting on her man’s lap as high school sweethearts though in their golden years, the glow of their faces while looking into each other’s eyes alone could fill up the pages of a romance novel.
For the first day in their marriage lifetime, papa woke up to the sunrise of sadness, sensing the vacancy on her side of the bed, drinking that first cup of coffee with an empty seat in front of him, void of her beautiful bright smile that didn’t greet him good-morning.
Yet in the pain of their good-bye on this side of earth, papa’s wife said hello to the other love of her life, the one she gave her heart to and waited a lifetime to spend eternity with, her Lord and Savior.
Our nana still retains her bright smile she was known for, yet she brightens up our hearts now, while leaving the world a bit dimmer.
Good-bye is our bookend to hello.
One sad good-bye is a glorious hello to someone else.
We were never meant to hold on to anything;
the moments, life as we know it, each other.
Life is a daily letting go so that in our letting go
have His way in us.
Good-bye might not be the hello we want to embrace.
But be willing to stay in your lane.
Get in position for the handoff of the good-by baton for God’s glorious Hello.
And continue to run the race set before you.
As good-bye is always our hello to the next step, the new beginning
of something wonderful God wants to do thru us.