Saying good bye to those we love is never easy, it will undoubtedly tug strongly on our heart strings and if it’s final well, that will reach far beyond a yank. Pulling our heart to their breaking point due to the forcible impact of our loss. As time marches on and my years head towards the golden, I’m painfully aware saying goodbye will be woven more frequently and tightly, as the lives around me lose theirs or relationships sadly dissolve.
This summer I had the pleasure of seeing Amy Grant in concert thanks to my friends generosity which extended to buying me her new CD. Though my spirit was moved tremendously by her song, “Don’t Try so Hard” honest words I can completely relate to. Her thought provoking song “Is it Better Not to Know” seemed to rank just as high on my favorite tunes list. The chorus goes as follows:
“Oh… nothing stays the same
Life flickers like a flame
As the seasons come and go
Goodbye more than hello
It’s better not to know
Is it better not to know? Amy Grant
I’ve asked myself that question when life has dealt me blows that have blindsided me and sent me reeling, my mind spinning into a autopilot of “Whys?” Oh, I know I’m not suppose to ask the “why” question but I do. I compare pictures I had of my future and the one I have been given. Strangely they rarely look the same; as I search for God in the sea of chaos like a “Where’s Waldo” in this newly replaced image. Straining to see Him in my overcrowded crestfallen circumstances. Instead of looking for Waldo’s striped shirt and beanie I look for God, nail scarred hands and feet, wounds He bore for you and me.
Isaiah 53:5 says…
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole”.
And then my eyes see Him, He was there, all along, never failing or forsaking me. Hidden in plain view surrounded by life’s beautiful messes, joy and sadness, triumph mingling with tragic. And even when my mind floods with questions and doubt, God prevails. We don’t have to live long to know… death can come sudden with no warning, no chance for farewells or a proper send off or it comes in what I call “The Journey of a Thousand Little Goodbyes.” Existing in the slow day to day departures to what was once normal, watching loved ones slip away one painful closure at a time. Greeting the dawning of a new day not knowing what part of their personality and capabilities will be gone forever. And while you hold onto every essence of who they are in that moment, in a blink of a eye it shifts yet again, finding yourself saying goodbye once more.
So long to what was normal, familiar, into a sinking sand of grief, weighty sorrow and sadness… pulling you down into a tomorrow that seems bleaker than today, enveloped in irretrievable grains of “use to be’s” .
Confronted with excruciating truth that….
One day your loved one can call you or give you a hug.
One day they can brush their teeth, comb their hair, dress and feed themselves.
One day they can walk, tell you they love you and fill the air with laughter.
And then one day it is gone… forever.
So far when it has come to losing my family members it has been one a “Journey of Thousand Little Goodbyes”. Losing my dad at the age of 27 to cancer after 6 months from his diagnosis. Fast forward twenty five years later my thousand farewells began again with my mama as her dementia and congestive heart failure chipped away at her strong body and vibrant personality. Going home to be with the Lord only five short months ago. While at the same time my only sibling was fighting his personal battle with Lewy Body dementia dove tailing with moms illness. Waves of loss washed over me as my mother and brother needed help to get them into the car, buckle their seat belts, form words or be their memory. Silently mourning a family I would never see whole again until we all reunited in Heaven. My journey of thousand little goodbyes continues as my brother battles his disease with grace, humor and a dignity that is humbling. And though I do not know what the future holds I choose to place my one hand in God’s while I wave temporary goodbyes large and small with the other.
I don’t know what goodbyes you’ve had to face, if they were sudden or drawn out. I do know God wants to bring you comfort in every grief stricken situation past, present or future .
God, thank you that you hold tightly on to our hands saying to us, fear not I will help you. Your love and faithfulness is a shield round about us. When we walk through the fire we will not be burned and through the floods we will not drown. Your grace covers us “when it’s better not to know.”
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that is why we call it the present.” Bil Keane