We told our 9-year-old that our dear friends were moving at the end of the month. He couldn’t take it. He cried and cried in his bed. This is the kid who has lived in six different homes in his short life. The boy we tore from everything he was comfortable with 18 months previously couldn’t bear the thought of saying goodbye to my exercise buddy and her husband whom we’d have over for dinner with their baby once or twice a month. Heartbroken.
Goodbyes hurt. They hurt even when you have confidence that you’ll see this friend again when they are visiting grandparents. They hurt whether you have been friends since birth or just for the past year. They hurt whether caused by someone moving or someone dying. They hurt even when you know you’ll be together in heaven.
Why does it wrong us in our inmost being when we are separated?
We were not meant for goodbyes.
It’s in the Bible, from the beginning to the end. God created us for relationship. In the Garden, Adam and Eve lived without the concept of goodbye. Not until they sinned and were ejected from the Garden did they experience separation. The first goodbye stunk. Separation is not our ultimate future. Our eternity will have no goodbye. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rev. 21:4). Heaven will be the ultimate in non-goodbyes. I’m pretty jazzed about that. But every goodbye has hurt from the beginning until the end.
It makes us know Who God is- that’s He’s not about separation but relationship. It helps us know what hell is like- it’s eternal separation and goodbyes that will make the ones we’ve felt on earth seem like no biggie. The hurt makes us long for heaven.
So as my son cries in his bed about friends leaving, and as he totally brings it up to everyone we have a conversation with (sorry, school nurse) as well as whenever he enjoys anything (he lamented to my parents that they were taking Mario Cart as well as the cutest baby ever with them), I remind him of heaven- that this is not it. Come, Lord Jesus!