Goodbye is Hard

He had big crocodile tears dripping down his cheeks. His face was flushed and he was breathing heavily. “I don’t want to go.” But it was time for Blake to go home.

Our grandson had been with us for two and a half weeks. We had a lot of fun going to the zoo, taking a picnic, playing the park, enjoying the family reunion, going to church, and visiting with Mawmaw Duet.

But it was time to say goodbye, and that was hurting our hearts… and especially his young heart. Only a few days ago he had talked to his mom and dad on the phone and asked them to come get him. They couldn’t. But today he didn’t want to leave. He knows it will be a while before we see him again. I am certain the moment he saw his mom and sister yesterday all of those feelings were replaced with joy at being reunited with them.

And now the constant whir of a six year old boy is gone and the house is quiet again. Goodbye is hard. We should be good at it by now. There are a lot of goodbyes in life. But for some reason they never get easy.

Some goodbyes are more permanent than others. Those are never easy.

There are some goodbyes in the Bible. Naomi and Elimelek moved to Moab with their two sons. We are not told how, but in time Naomi lost her husband and two sons. In her sorrows she released her daughters-in-law to go back to their home.

Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud… ~Ruth 1:8-9

Goodbyes seem to go along with tears. Tears are not bad, they are a gift from God. And we are told that God is paying attention when we shed our tears.

You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book. ~Psalm 56:8, The Message

For Christians there are no permanent goodbyes. The promise of eternal life is fueled by the empty tomb. For three days the disciples thought they had said a last goodbye to Jesus, but He kept His promise and they saw Him again. I urge you, if you are not a Christian, to give your life to Jesus Christ. He alone can give you this eternal hope.

So when you say goodbye, go ahead and cry. Recognize that it is your love for another person that makes being separated so hard. After a time of sorrow, take a look around and love those you have near.  Naomi had to do that when her beloved daughter in law would not leave her side.

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. ~Ruth 1:16-17

A beautiful story of friendship, family, and faithfulness … and goodbyes. I’m looking forward to our next visit with our daughter and her family. The tears from that goodbye will be turned into jubilant smiles. That will be a good day.

“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”
~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Thanks for reading,

John

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