Exodus 18:27 – And Moses let his father-in-law depart; and he went his way into his own land. (KJV)
As each of our children graduated and left to further their education, well-meaning family and friends phoned to ask how I was doing, how I was handling it.
The calls often threw me off guard, for it (meaning the moving out or moving on of one's offspring) meant many different things to many different people.
Though to me it meant growth and opportunity, to some it seemed so severe a loss as to be almost compared to a death, and in a way I guess it was, for it was the death, as it were, of life as it had been. It must be respected that some people had not had many good-byes in their lives. This, in some minds, was surely one of the harshest.
Our lives are full of many good-byes: our leaving our school-mates, our parents, our colleagues, our family, friends and neighbours. We say good-bye to our visitors and to those we visit. And sometimes we must say good-bye to those we love and must leave or be left, through death.
One word in today's scripture packs a pretty powerful message, and that is the word let. For I've learned from the terminally ill how important it is to let our loved ones go graciously in death and in life. I see all my good-byes as knobs on the doors that open up each of our new experiences.
I have seen and found that faith (and in my case, that faith is in God) is the strength that allows us to turn that knob when the good-byes we face are the hardest.
Prayer: Father, we ask that we be given the grace to respect those who see our sometimes small good-byes as monumental. Let us not compare, but share with compassion, grace and understanding in each of our good-byes, knowing that they are the pages we must turn in the chapters of our life's book. In your name we pray. Amen.