I'm not sure I've ever thought about the word "goodbye" before. It begins with "good", but often I don't feel like goodbyes are good, and I certainly don't feel any good at saying them.
Yesterday I said goodbye to friends who have finished college and are moving back to New Zealand. It was so much easier to say "see you later". But I corrected myself. I know that goodbye is more accurate because I don't know if I will ever see them again.
But then she said to me "until next time", and that felt better than goodbye. We don't know when we'll see each other again, but we are God's children, saved by our faith in Jesus, and we know that we will see each other again in heaven.
Today we also had our church Christmas lunch, which included a farewell to J and I because we will be going to a different church for different training next year. These goodbyes weren't as final as the friends I mentioned, but they were still sad. We won't see this church family every week anymore. Though we'll still be in the same city, our interactions won't be the same.
It was hard saying goodbye to these friends too. It was much easier to say "we'll see you again, we'll come and visit", and try to avoid the sadness of goodbye. I didn't want the sadness of goodbye. But again, I know that I will see these friends in heaven, even after we have our final goodbyes.
Thank you God, for our hope of heaven. Perhaps goodbyes can be good after all.