"Goodbye" is a word I have come to dislike. As a child I heard the word often - goodbye to my grandparents and other relatives as my family left for Africa, goodbye to a home I had come to love as my family moved on to new mission assignments, goodbye to my parents when I attended school 500 miles away. In the past several weeks I have had to say goodbye to two very special ladies.
Louise moved to our community several years ago. When she and her husband arrived, she only knew a handful of people. They moved to our small rural community from the Vancouver area. Louise could have mourned what she left behind. Instead, she started building relationships and slowly became a welcomed addition to our community. Louise was comfortable interacting with children, teens, singles, young moms, couples, and the elderly. She seemed to have a sixth sense that honed in on those who needed a word of encouragement, a hug, or prayer.When you had a conversation with Louise, you always felt special. A few weeks ago Louise laid down for a nap, and woke up in Heaven.
I met Jan about 16 years ago when she and her family moved into a local community so her husband could pastor the local church. Our lives intersected occasionally, but I didn't really get to know her until Jan offered to do crafts with my daughter while I taught her children how to play the piano. I began to look forward to our weekly time together and came to appreciate Jan's sense of humor, her creativity, and her godliness. Several years later, during one of our weekly lessons, Jan shared that she had gone for a biopsy and was waiting for results. She was fairly certain she had breast cancer. Jan was right. She endured surgery, chemo, and radiation, while maintaining a wonderfully positive outlook, and eventually life returned to a new normal. Until a few months ago. The cancer returned with a vengeance and escorted her into the presence of Jesus.
I Corinthians 15:55-58 states that God takes away the sting of death through Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 4:13-18 reminds me that I grieve differently than those who have no hope. The passage goes on to explain that one day I will again see "those who have fallen asleep in Jesus." So, although I grieve right now, I have hope. This goodbye is only temporary - it's more like a "See you later!"
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