My niece is almost 2 and it is a lot of fun to babysit her for short periods of time. She’s at the precious stage where she’s learning more and more words and able to communicate better each time I see her. She’s precious and cute and well-behaved for the most part.
Like many infants before her, one of her first words was ‘Bye’. And every time she leaves with her mother, she’s sure to wave and say ‘bye’ at least 3 or 4 times.
I found myself in a very similar situation the past couple weeks. Two people who significantly influenced me were retiring and moving away. One was Dr. Ken Bickel here at GTS and the other was my former senior pastor, Dr. Ralph Porter. There were a couple of situations with each of them where I thought I was saying goodbye more or less permanently.
Yet, as God had it, it turned out I was going to have additional chances to say goodbye to both of them. I even got to help Pastor Ralph move last Saturday after I thought I’d be out of town originally.
I found myself unsure and a little uncomfortable during those additional ‘goodbyes’ because I had already expressed to them my appreciation for their investment in me and their service to Christ. Thankfully they are both alive and well and I can directly tell them how much their ministries meant to me. It seems to me that when we say goodbye, whether temporarily or until eternity, we should cherish the good times and the good experiences and the overall ‘good’ nature of the relationship, however brief or long.
My wife and I said ‘goodbye’ to a couple who have been friends of ours for a while. the husband was one of my roommates and we were both in each other’s weddings. They are moving to Chicago and Monday night we dropped by and had ice cream while we reminisced about the past and talked about the future. In a world with crime, injustice, pain, and suffering, I am blessed to have some things that are so good to say bye to.