I’ve got goodbyes on my mind.
Last week was my spring break. I was able to spend it with my family on the beach in South Carolina. I live sixteen hours, a thousand miles, a timezone away from them. I’ve been counting down to this trip for weeks, even months. I spent a lot of time planning, packing, thinking about the week.
And it’s gone. In the blink of an eye. One minute I was getting on a plane headed east, the next I was disembarking in Dallas. Weeks on vacation always fly past. The melancholy starting setting in on our last day. I hugged my niece a little tighter, lingered a little longer on the balcony to talk to my dad. I tried to soak in the moments and enjoy the time that was left. I had to say goodbye to my family without knowing exactly when I will see them again or how long it will be.
Goodbyes are painful. We long for the eternal, and it hurts when we come to an ending. It’s why graduations are bittersweet, why we sit quietly for a moment after finishing a book or a movie, why it feels surreal to leave on your last day at a job. The time we have is never enough. Goodbyes hurt whether they are temporary or permanent, caused by death or change or simply the passage of time.
Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is a time for everything under heaven, and also that God has put eternity into the hearts of men. We experience seasons and change, beginnings and endings, and all the time we yearn for what lasts forever. It creates a tension and an ache that speaks to the eternity we were created for. If our hope is placed in perishable things, what awaits us but disappointment? If we live for temporary moments, where are we left when they’re gone?
As my long-awaited week drew to a close, I was reminded that by God’s mercy, and through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, I have been born again to a living hope and promised an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading (1 Peter 1). I can acknowledge the pain in goodbyes while rejoicing in what will not pass away. What joy to serve an eternal God in a transitory world, with eternity in our hearts.