Have you seen the television show Hello-Goodbye? In the show, a man walks through the Toronto airport scouting out people who are either welcoming or sending off loved ones. Each person he encounters has a story to tell—often through tears. I have to admit, it’s not one of my favourites. Not because it’s a bad show. Rather, because it’s my reality. Perhaps it’s yours as well?
I’ve never liked goodbyes. But I grew to absolutely dread them after the death of my 19-year-old son Ben. As if that final goodbye weren’t enough for this mother’s heart to bear, two days after his funeral our oldest daughter, Natalie left the nest to explore the next chapter of her life; traveling the nation with a ministry team based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Those travels led her to her husband of six years and they now live in rural Manitoba with their two young boys, my grandsons, Seth (2 ½ years) and Jaxon (8 months). Due to the distance between us, we spend way too much time in airports! The cost to fly from Ontario to Manitoba prevents frequent visits. And even if we had more frequent visits, the fact would remain that no matter how long the visit, a goodbye is always imminent and another trip to the airport looms ominously. Therefore, from the time that Natalie arrives until the day she leaves, my heart is in turmoil. I try desperately to saturate myself in the time we have together; making the most of and savoring every moment, enjoying every conversation, immersing myself in every activity, celebrating every meal together, basking in each other’s presence, sopping up every millisecond of snuggles with my grandsons and treasuring each new memory in my heart. But I must admit, knowing the pain of a pending goodbye makes it challenging.
So, how do you fully savour each moment without allowing the next moment to rob you of its joy? The Answer is by living in the moment. It’s a place I learned to live after Ben’s leukemia diagnosis. And I find it comforting to rehearse the principles and reapply their salve with every hello and goodbye.
Pain and joy. Laughter and tears. Blessings and curses. Hellos and goodbyes. All of them mix in mingle in a painfully beautiful co-existence. Just think, one day there will be no more tears, no more sadness, no more pain, and no more goodbyes! In the meantime, let’s savour every moment we’re given.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10, NIV).
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Contact Lisa at: email@example.com