Goodbyes are never easy.
Whether we’re saying goodbye to an old friend who has come in for a visit, or to a loved one who has passed on into eternity, goodbye is a word that is often associated with sadness. In writing My Summer Storm, I chose to have Bailey say goodbye to a person that was very important to her in Leaving Nelson.
(Taken from My Summer Storm, Chapter One)
Thoughts of Bryce had put me in a melancholy mood. I remembered the last time I saw him. Nearly a year earlier, it was the end of the summer, and we were standing in front of a monstrous, yellow moving van.
“I’m going to fly back and visit you,” Bryce promised as he looked at me tearfully.
“I’ll write you every day. You will get sick of seeing my emails.” I tried to joke, but it wasn’t working. There we stood, holding hands, shifting from one foot to another. There were so many things I wanted to say to him, but every time I tried to express my true feelings, tears filled my eyes and a lump constricted my throat. How could I ever find the words to thank him for the friendship he’d given me? How could I tell him that he was the first boy I’d ever understood? Even loved? I guess he must have felt the same way because he was sobbing just as hard as I was. We stood there for what seemed like forever, two writers who held so many words, suddenly struck with silence. Despite the lack of words, one look between us said more than mere syllables could express. How would we ever say goodbye?
I can still remember how green his eyes were that day as the tears streaked his face. He hugged me hard, his heart pounding against my chest. I held him closely, never wanting to let go. Then he pulled me away, gently kissed me on the cheek, and climbed into his mother’s car. It reminded me so much of the day I had left my home in Nelson, which broke my heart even more. I tried to tell myself that we’d stay together. The sincere look in his eyes gave me a sense of hope, yet I knew I’d probably never see him again. Sadly, I waved goodbye and climbed into Dad’s truck. It wasn’t the first time moving had broken my heart. Only this time, instead of leaving a piece of me behind, a piece of me was leaving forever.
Goodbyes are inevitable. Life happens. Job transfers often pluck the people we love out of our daily lives and place them on opposite ends of the world. And sometimes, like Bailey, we struggle to move on. We want to hold on to the idea of what once was instead of embracing the possibilities that life has to offer. But just like Bailey, we have to remember that God is in control and that He’s got a plan. He’s got a reason for goodbyes.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”
“What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
As a Christian, I love that passage. I love the story that God is writing for my life. And I take comfort in the fact that He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Several years ago, I had a miscarriage. At the time, I was devastated beyond words. I had been making plans for double birthday parties, doodling baby names on my notebook, and dreaming about the future little brother for our son. I never imagined that I’d have a miscarriage, so when it happened, it was such a shock. The baby’s heart had never started beating. Saying goodbye to that little life was an awful experience. I don’t think I have ever been so sad or so unsure about God’s plan for my life. I just felt empty. Cheated. Scared out of my mind. A few months later, when we got pregnant again, I started having some of the same symptoms that I’d had with the miscarriage. We were in Michigan, visiting family for Christmas. I called the OB, and he told me to expect another miscarriage. So I turned my heart off again. I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to go through the horrible nightmare again. Yet something amazing happened. When we got home, we drove straight to the doctor’s office for an ultrasound. The doctor wanted to check the baby’s heartbeat with a doppler before ordering the ultrasound. He said hearing a heartbeat was a long shot, since I was only 9 weeks. He placed the cold jelly on my stomach and began searching.
And we listened.
A dreadful silence.
My worst fear was being confirmed.
Then my doctor said, “Don’t worry. It’s still early. Just thought I’d try it with the doppler since sometimes we get lucky.” And then there it was. Ba-bum Ba-bum Ba-bum. “Sometimes we get lucky, and we just did!” The doctor grinned at me, and I could hardly contain my joy. We were so happy. His heartbeat was strong and loud. While God was knitting him together in my womb, He considered my grief. He was there…working… even when I didn’t feel His presence. God saw my broken heart and decided to give me a special gift. Not just a perfectly healthy baby boy… but one who has my mother’s smile, a smile I hadn’t seen in 18 years.
Now looking back, I see the bigger picture.
I see the beautiful reason for that “goodbye.” And I’m blessed beyond measure–that God would choose to heal my broken heart with the smile of a little, blue-eyed boy.
Even as we say goodbye to another year, to friends and loved ones, and in my case, to a character (ha ha)… DO NOT LOSE HEART.
Just like an author who has a vision for a series, God’s got a vision for your life. He sees the bigger picture. He knows the end result. And regardless of what storm you are going through, keep in mind: He will make all things beautiful in its time.