26 May 2008

Saying Goodbye...

"No more goodbyes...and no more sad partings. No more farewell, no more will we bid each other adieu...We'll meet again, where sorrows end, and life begins anew." The lyrics to this song are by a group called the Blendwrights - a group that I listened to consistently as a child growing up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Goodbyes are hard. Whether they are expected or unexpected, they are hard. For example, a child graduating from high school and moving away to college. You know its coming, you have 17/18 years to prepare for it, and yet, every autumn, there is some mother crying at a freshman dorm room as her "baby" leaves her to start the next phase of his/her life. [C'mon now, I KNOW my mother wasn't the only one!]. Or, the trip has been planned for months. You know (you pray) your loved one will return from the vacation safe, relaxed, refreshed and invigorated, but the parting at the airport is still difficult. [Sidebar: how many of you miss being able to go to the gate to either say goodbye or greet your family and friends as they arrived? I do. Meeting at baggage claim just ain't the same.] And let's not even talk about the pain of saying goodbye to someone when they die - whether suddenly after an accident or expectedly after a long illness. Goodbyes are hard.

This past weekend, I, along with my church family, had to say goodbye to our pastor, Godwin Mitchell, and his family - his wife, Gasie, and his daughters, Kiera and Kenya. After 8 years of service, they are being moved to another church - and the church is two states away, so it ain't like I can pop over for dinner one day and just see them because I want to. They are going away. And with gas prices topping $4 a gallon, getting in my car and driving to Winston Salem, NC where they will be making their new home, isn't as easy (or economical) an endeavor as it would have been in the days of $2.00 a gallon gas prices. [Do you remember fussing about gas being $3 a gallon? I'll date myself and admit that I remember the horror of paying $1.00 a gallon not too too long ago!] So, the reality might be that I will not see my friends on this side of heaven again [not likely, but life has a way of getting in the way]. Thank God for the technology of the Internet and email and cell phones as ways to keep in touch.

The Bible tells us of the day when there will be no more goodbyes. [Rev. 21:4] When we will join Our Savior in heaven to live eternally. When we will be reunited with loved ones who have fallen asleep in the Lord. When we will, for eternity, be able to spend time with loved ones and friends without fear that this might be the last time we ever see them. Where fellowship will continue forever. Can you imagine what a great time that will be? One big long family reunion without drama - and more than enough food for everyone. [AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!]

I don't know if you have recently had to say goodbye to someone. Or maybe you've had to say goodbye to something - which can also be traumatic -think chocolate. Whatever goodbye experience you have gone through, or are going through, I know God will give you the strength you need to get through it. He has done it in the past. He will do it now. Just trust in Him. When you cannot see His Hand, trust His Heart.

Be blessed.

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