No Hellos Without Goodbyes

As we rush through the holiday season, there are greetings galore. We gather with family and friends and share a meal, a treat, perhaps even a gift. We spend time together and, hopefully, recognize the rich blessings of sharing life with those we love.

But sometimes the reality strikes in the midst of the greetings that the inevitable parting will too soon be upon us. We love to gather but we hate to say goodbye. That is, we hate to say goodbye to people with whom we truly enjoy spending time.

And the hellos are joyful. But the goodbyes are difficult. It’s always been so, I suppose.

I was reflecting upon an occasion recorded in the book of Acts (chapter 28) when Paul had asked the leaders of the church at Ephesus to come and meet with him. They were very sad because he plainly told them he would not see them again. But he reminded them of the things he had worked so hard to teach them.

On that day, the hello was sweet, but the goodbye was so hard. And so many of our family gatherings and friend-rich occasions will find our hellos full of joy…but perhaps tinged with the sad reality of the inevitable goodbyes.

I think that one of the most wondrous aspects of life in relationship with Jesus is the assurance of forever spent in His presence WITH all of those who know Him. Just think about it…always hello and never goodbye.

But here and now, the truth is that we cannot have the hellos without the goodbyes. But, if we know that forever is sure because of Jesus, then our partings just increase our appetite for that time that is to come.

As you gather with your family and friends this season, enjoy the hellos. And, as you embrace the inevitable goodbyes, would you just make sure that they are really “see-you-laters?”

There really are no hellos without goodbyes…yet.

Well Done

Death is a sad subject.

And death is a joyous occasion.

Those statements seem, at first, to be contradictory. They’re not. They are both equally true for those who have made plans for such an occasion.

This week our family has had the sad and joyous privilege of saying our earthly goodbyes to Grandma Lois, or Memaw as she is often called. We’re sad that she won’t be there to hug and to cut up with. She won’t be there to offer profoundly wise counsel as she has so often to so many. She won’t be there to pray for us as we know she has faithfully done all of our lives.

But we rejoice that the frustration and suffering she endured is over.

Pictured here is Grandma Lois (seated) with her oldest daughter (my amazing mother-in-law Rosemary) and three of her grand daughters.

Grandma Lois is my wife’s grandmother. Our family has been quite unusually blessed in that my kids have really known 7 of their 8 great-grandparents. We recognize the incredible rarity of such a blessing these days. And now they have 4 remaining. How rich a heritage we have been given.

Continue reading Well Done

Just a Taste…

My kids will tell you that I eagerly subscribe to the theory that some foods are just too good for kids.  It’s the reason that, when they were all very small, I would grill a steak for my wife and myself but cook up a batch of hot dogs (or “tube-steaks” as I prefer to call them) for the kids.  I really didn’t do this to deprive my kids, but rather because they just didn’t appreciate the difference.  They were just as happy with the hot dogs.

As they got older, there was a point for each one when they would ask for a bite – probably out of curiosity as to why we had something different.  As they were given a taste of the good stuff, they began to be less and less satisfied with their hot dogs. Continue reading Just a Taste…