I said goodbye yesterday to some friends we met on sabbatical. Sometimes it feels like my life is one continuous goodbye. Of course there are constants for which I am profoundly grateful. God is always with me and Barbara has been my ever-faithful life companion through these past 26 years of marriage, but in some seasons of life, the goodbyes seem to engulf the greetings. As we prepare for our return to Singapore, it feels like this is one of those seasons.
We are saying goodbye to our children, a new son and daughter-in-law, extended family, friends old and new, and so much more. Of course, new beginnings bring new hellos and new opportunities, but the pain of saying goodbye is still very real and takes time to work through and move beyond. If I’m honest, there is sadness in excitement and sorrow in anticipation.
In reflecting on these feelings, part of the longing to never again have to say goodbye is rooted in the great hope of heaven where we will finally find ourselves face-to-face with God and join in the sweet communion of the saints in a way we have never known before. It will never be goodbye again. It will only be an exultant, spectacular, and unending reunion.
I am reminded of the words from an old Degarmo and Key song:
“It’s gonna be a family reunion when we see the Lord
At the family reunion we’ll be home forevermore . . . home forevermore”
Whenever God calls, I’m ready to be home forevermore and never have to say goodbye again.