It’s done. It’s over. Sticky fingers have loaded the bus. Arms full of new books, treats from the end of the year party, projects to take home to show to family, Hearts a flutter with emotion, not sure if they should miss their classmates or be excited to be free. Minds filled with uncertainty when the steady routine is replaced with inconsistent meals and activities. 5th graders leaving for middle school, and students moving away. Today many tears were shed as everyone said their final farewells to our principal who is retiring after about 42 years. More tears were shed as a 1st grade teacher said her farewells before moving to another state. Good byes rip something out of us, something that cries out for security and community. Good byes force us to trust, that both of us will be fine. Good byes are a sort of grieving, the loss of time together. But without good byes, we may never say hello…
As much as my students and I love each other’s company (well, perhaps not everyday), if we never said good bye, we could never say hello. Hello swimming, and soaking in the sun, planting tiny seedlings, and watching the flowers bloom! Hello family trips to the zoo, park and to see the grandparents. Hello books to read, time to laugh, time for walks or to ride a bike. Some of life’s most treasured moment would never be greeted if we didn’t say good bye.
Yes, some good byes we may never understand and they may leave us aching in pain for months even years. When my cousins said good bye to their mom, or my friends to their unborn babies, they couldn’t see any hellos in the moment. But my aunt did…..and those babies did……when Jesus touched their sweet faces. For when they said good bye to us, they said hello to Jesus. And unless they said good bye here, they could never say hello there. Who would deny them that unspeakable joy to say hello to Jesus…..and yet our hearts are still here.. in this moment…. on this side of it. Where it hurts. Jesus said goodbye, and many of his disciples wondered why. But he knew he had another job to do, a home to prepare for them, to be ready to greet them when their time on earth is done. I wonder if he missed his walks with John, or fishing with Peter. If he missed the campfire chats, and longed for them to join Him.
It is said that a tapestry only makes sense if you look at the top. For underneath, the colors mix. Intertwining, criss-crossing, looking like a mess. And that is where we live. Down where the colors intermix and look randomly stuck together. But Jesus sees the other side, the woven picture. He sees how each color blends together, intermingling like notes of musical harmony. He sees all the hellos that we can’t see through the fog. He IS the certainty in my uncertainty. The sureness when I am not. The calm and steady voice that calls through the clouds and whispers gently ……..hello.
Lord, help me to trust you. To hear your voice when there is fog. To say goodbye when needed, and cling to your forever promises.
Hellos and goodbyes, hellos and goodbyes. With out the good bye of retirement, my principal could never greet new adventures in retirement. Without good bye to our school, my coworker could never say hello to living near family. So much would be missed. I had to say good bye doing things my way, and good bye to my time with my parents, to say hello to my sweet husband.
For today, I am thankful for this goodbye. Good bye IEPs, good bye lesson planning, goodbye meetings and paperwork….until we meet again. Hello, sipping coffee on a Friday afternoon watching the kittens play. I welcome you.