Hello – Goodbye!

Saying goodbye today to our youngest was difficult. Her family surprised her with an birthday airplane ticket to visit us for a few days. We enjoyed almost four days of just being together.

Hello comes first (used to express a greeting) and goodbye comes last (farewell). But what does it really mean?

A Hello to my children is a said with a smile on my face, a skip in my step and love in my heart.
Goodbye is laced with tears and a tug in my heart. Words come hard over the lump in my throat. I begin praying for a safe journey back to their various homes. After the first Hello, I try not to think about the impending Goodbye. I know it is coming. I know, and I erase it from my mind.

Today we said goodbye to our baby daughter. In our heart she will always be our baby, our sunshine girl, our joy and delight. We began the goodbye at breakfast, through the family circle of prayer and continued in the family hug. The packing was finished and the bags in the car awaiting transport.

The drive was too fast, filled with family chatter and memories of a life time. And then one quick hug, and a wave accompanied by a kiss-wave and our daughter disappeared in the airport security area. To me she is 3 years old again, not the woman celebrating a half a century of years tomorrow. Her Dad and I turned to leave, taking deep breaths to stem the tears that threatened to river down our cheeks.

I watched the mother waving to her daughter as she disappeared in the hold of the security area. I knew how she felt. As she turned to leave, I commented, “It’s hard, isn’t it?” Her eyes were filled with tears.

As we drove back to our home I remembered other goodbyes to our sons and their families. I remembered goodbyes to my parents while they lived. I remembered the goodbyes to my grandparents. As time continues on for me, the meaning of goodbye becomes more than just a casual farewell. It is a heartfelt separation that requires faith to endure. Faith in God who is in control, trust that through Him separation is never final.

When my ancestors left their homes and traveled across the ocean to this country years ago, the family that stayed behind didn’t know when if ever they would even have word from them. Today we received two phone calls from our daughter — from the local airport while boarding, and from Dallas airport. Each phone call contained a ‘hello’ and a ‘goodbye’. Ah, the blessing of instant communication is such a blessing to parents and children.

When my husband worked in Vietnam during the 60’s for three months, communication was not instant. When I had a question concerning one of our four teenage children, I knew the answer would not be forthcoming for at least a month via ‘air’ mail. The answer was usually mute by the time it arrived. How much more so was it for our ancestors.

When you use the words, Hello and Goodbye, consider what you are saying. And rejoice with me when we have someone to say hello or goodbye to. Never take your time together for granted. Make it count!

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