Every ‘goodbye’ leads to ‘hello’

By Joan Clayton: Religion Columnist

“Someone is waiting for someone to leave or someone to arrive,” I thought.

We were in an airport terminal. I looked around at the teary faces of people waiting to say their last goodbye. I also watched those happy expectant people waiting to hug a loved one “hello.”

“How much longer, Mommie?” asked a little jumping jack of a boy, anxiously pulled his mother’s skirt. “When will I get to see my daddy?”

Another group, a grandfather maybe, along with a mother and daddy and other family members or friends all had a common interest.

“We haven’t seen him since boot camp,” I heard the elderly man remark.

The countenance of the older travelers gave quizzical expressions. Were they wondering if this might be the last time to say goodbye?

They held on to the moment, hugging and holding hands.

“Flight 591 will be boarding at gate five momentarily,” a loudspeaker announced.

The departing ones held each other just a little tighter as they maneuvered toward the gate, but sounds of delight came from those who ran to meet the arrival of loved ones.

People arrived and departed. The apparent tears, the hugs, the handclasps, the endearing words … all revealed love from someone’s heart.

“Wouldn’t it be great,” I thought, “If all of us could be this loving every day. The time we have is a precious moment because all too soon we must say “goodbye.”

Oh, but the joy of saying, “Hello!” The joy of expecting loved ones to come home. The delightful and joyful expectations of that glad reunion.

‘There’s Daddy!” The little boy ran to his daddy shouting, “There’s my Daddy.” This living picture reminded me of the greatest homecoming of all when this life is over.

When the child of God goes home, it is a “goodbye” here but a “hello” there. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15 KJV) Can you just imagine the homecoming of God’s child? Because of Jesus it will be a glad reunion.

To gain understanding of this wonderful news of God reaching down to man and granting the choice for eternal life is blessed knowledge indeed.

Meanwhile, back on earth, he will never leave us. He is the comforter, savior, redeemer, protector and healer … “a friend that sticketh closer than a brother!” (Proverbs 18:24)

If you had only a few weeks or months to live, what changes would you make? Would you make each day count? Would you suddenly become aware of little things that mean so much? Would you speak of love and appreciation to others that oftentimes has been left unsaid?

This present moment is all we have to really live. Successful living comes when we make our days count. When it comes our time to make our heavenly flight, we may say goodbye to those we leave, but as our middle son said to me when he left home, “don’t cry Mom, a Christian never says goodbye for the last time.”

Remember, a “goodbye” here is just a “hello” there.