5 years ago, goodbyes were different for us. We would say goodbye to family and friends regularly. We knew we would see them again soon. Usually the next day or week or month. No big deal.
Goodbyes are still a normal part of our life. However, they aren’t the same normal.
Today, goodbyes are different. They no longer mean “See ya soon!”. They often times mean “This is the last time I will see you here on this earth!”. Sometimes they mean “Hopefully we will see you in a few years!”. Other times we have no idea what that goodbye means.
Ausust 2013 – we move to Texas and we met a couple who quickly became our best friends here. June 2014 – we say goodbye to them. One of those “Hopefully we will see you in a few years!” goodbyes. I stood crying as they drove away. It was hard.
Less than 1 year to make a friend, develop a friendship and say goodbye. The first of many.
A year later, we would be in the same situation. They drove away, I stood crying. A “This is the last time I will see you here on this earth!” goodbye. A little over a year later – again.
Many of these friendships were only beginning when they had to end. Often I wanted to stop making those friends. That would mean no more hard goodbyes. But instead, God taught us to make deeper friendships in the time we had together. Instead of 10 years building a friendship, we get 10 weeks or 10 months. We learn to make those short weeks and months into a friendship that will last forever though miles apart.
Today, again, we said goodbye to friends. Friends we love and have no idea when we will see them again. Friends we met only a few months ago. Friends with kids who became our kids best friends. Friends who we shared laughter, joy, tears and sorrow with. Friends we grew to love. Friends that in a “normal” life we would see regularly for the rest of our life. But our life isn’t “normal”. Goodbye doesn’t mean “See ya later!” anymore. Goodbye isn’t said nonchalantly anymore. Goodbye isn’t painless anymore.
But GOD. . . God makes these goodbyes ok. He makes them make sense. He pours grace upon grace out on us. He makes forever goodbyes, ok.
Tears flow less quickly though the friendships are deeper. The friendships are deeper though the time shorter. The time is shorter though the road ahead is longer. A long road filled with many more goodbyes. Bittersweet moments to come and many more heartbreaks to be.
Praise God for His unfailing love for us. To overflow with grace and peace and comfort and love. So, when we do say those goodbyes, we see God’s greater purpose for us is far better than our plans. So, we can experience a grace and love of which we are unworthy. We learn to thank God for the short time these friends are in our lives instead of resenting him for taking them away. We learn to say goodbye with a smile and full heart.
John 1:16 “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.”