There are few things harder in this life than saying “goodbye.” My mother-in-law refuses to utter the words, instead saying “See you Saturday.”
Last week as I left my home for the last 2 and half years in Colorado; I lost count of how many times I had to say those dreadful words, “goodbye.”
I attempted to ease the pain by reassuring friends and family that we would see them soon, but the reality is that we are never sure what tomorrow brings.
As I looked into the misty eyes of many of my closest friends I realized that I only could be saying bye right now because of their friendship. Without their sacrifice of time and care our venture to start a new church in Arkansas simply would not be.
And yet, the more these people gave themselves to us, making our leaving easier, it became harder and harder to leave. With each goodbye, a sinking feeling grew within me: I may never see these people again. We all must say that final goodbye at some point.
And yet our friends are exactly what makes saying goodbye so hard and yet so possible. It is their love that gives us the courage to face isolation.
Jesus said “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” While his death would certainly be for all mankind, his death was most pointedly for his friends.
While that final night must have been extremely painful, it was also bearable because of his friends. And even though their love seemed to falter, his did not. And it was his ultimate sacrifice that made us all his friend, that will give us the courage to finally say goodbye.
The strength of that courage lies in hope, because Jesus has shown us that no goodbye is truly final.
There is day coming that will never end, a day of homecoming. Another day to look into each other’s misty eyes and say “Welcome home!” This is our hope and this is our courage.
So, we can with true hearts, in the midst of leaving, tell one another “see you Saturday.”