We were sitting down for dinner, chatting about life and things to come like normal. I leaned over and said, "Madeline, tomorrow is our last day at church. You are going to have to say bye bye to the church grandmas."
"No, no bye."
Now life with an almost two year old means that I am told no approximately 10.2 milliontimes a day, so it is not that her response was anything shocking.
But it did get me thinking that in our way of life, we have to say goodbye a lot. We love meeting new people, making new friends, and attending new churches. But the truth is that in order to keep doing that, we are going to have to say goodbye and move on to another place. It is a part of our life that I have taken for granted as normal.
But in the eyes of my kids, the almost four months that we just spent in Beaumont was most of their life. When Madeline talks about going to church, she isn't talking about our church home in Tulsa; she is talking about Amelia Baptist Church. It is all that she remembers as the church.
So how do we teach our kids how to say goodbye? With under two years of parenthood under our belts, we are still figuring things out day by day; we certainly are not experts. But my goal is to show them through our actions why saying goodbye isn't a bad thing.
Goodbyes are a Natural Part of Life
As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.- Genesis 8:22, NLT
Everything on this earth is on a cycle, just like the earth goes around the sun year after year. I think hellos and goodbyes should have been added to this verse. Births and deaths, people moving- hellos and goodbyes are just as natural part of this life as the seasons.
As hard as it may be for us to think about, our kids need to learn that people come and go in and out of our lives, throughout our whole life. Yes, it is hard. Yes, it hurts. And yes, we miss them. But this is the way God has ordained things to be on the Earth.
Goodbyes aren't Forever
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.- 1 Thessalonians 4:13, NLT
Whether we are reunited in this life or have to wait until Heaven, the Bible assures us that saying goodbye to someone in the family of Christ is not forever. We will see them again! That assurance allows us to say goodbye with hope.
We have been watching Little House on the Prairie lately. I have several times thought about how sad it would be to pack up our family and move without ever knowing if we would see our families again. And yet that is what we have done!
But in today's digital age, there is so much that we can do to stay connected while being in different parts of the world. FaceTime, Facebook, email, text messaging, phone calls- the never-ending advancements in technology mean that we almost always have a way to keep in touch if we choose.
So instead of looking to goodbyes as a sad thing to be dreaded, I hope to teach our kids to look at them with hope, knowing that we will have plenty of opportunities to stay in touch and one day meet again!
How have you taught your kids to say goodbye? And how do you handle goodbyes yourself?