Goodbyes are hard. I was standing in a security line at an airport not long ago preparing to go through the regular process that has become so much a part of flying. In front of me was a young lady who was weeping. Occasionally she would turn around and strain to see if her loved one was still there. A faint smile. A wave. Another goodbye. With all that has changed about travel through the years, some things never change. It is not easy to say goodbye to those you love.
My attitude was much different than the young lady who was in line with me. You see, I was going home. On the other end of my flight was a precious wife and three wonderful children. It matters not where you have been, it is always good to get home. I have relived this experience many times. The faces of family members are very different at “departures” than they are at “arrivals.”
As I write these words I am thinking of several of our precious friends who have gone through the loss of loved ones. Mothers and fathers gone too soon. Brothers and sisters, children, and grandparents that have departed this world. How do you deal with saying goodbye?
The story is told of an old minister who used to frequently walk to the docks to see the ocean liners leave port. He said that for many years it was one of the saddest sights he ever witnessed. Without exception, as the ship pulled away, some loved one left behind on the docks would say, “Well, there they go.”
These words would ring in his ears as he walked slowly home. “Well, there they go.” Then one day a wonderful thought came to his mind! While someone on this side was saying, “Well, there they go,” someone on the other side would be saying, “Well, here they come!”
This is true for every child of God. We visit hospital rooms, funeral homes, and cemeteries. Loved ones take their last breath and we think, “There they go.” But at that very moment there are precious loved ones and a loving Lord in Heaven welcoming them home. “Here they come.”
View the journey from “arrivals” and not “departures.” Remember that for every parting there is a reunion. Goodbyes are only for a short time. Soon we will all say goodbye to this world, but it will only be a hello to Heaven. For believers goodbyes are never final.