Last Friday was my last day of work. I said good-bye to as many students as possible. The second year English teacher had all the students in the second year (13-14 years old) make message cards for me. Also Friday one of my friends left the country. Because of circumstances I couldn't' say good-bye. Saturday we raided the apartment of another friend and said good-bye. Saturday morning a different set of friends left the country without me seeing them.
Graduations, new jobs, new chapters in life......tragedy.
The pain of saying good-bye and the grief of not being able to.
Why does it hurt so much? Why do we have to say good-bye?
ah. Because... we were not created to say good-bye.
We were created for fellowship. We were created for community. We were created for joy and love. But sin is the father of "good-bye." The first good-bye was when we left God's presence and plan for us. I can't imagine the pain of the first good-bye. And the responsibility.
Now we live in a cursed world. Why do bad things happen? Why are there earthquakes and tsunamis? Because the very ground was cursed because of sin. Sin has caused all our pain and strife. Sin separates us not only from God but from each other. Loneliness. Hurt. Emptiness. Good-bye.
We are promised failure. (stole this thought from John Eldridge) We are guaranteed pain. There will always be another good-bye.
So what's the point?
Because in the midst of a cursed world, God still provides. He promised death, but He bestowed time. We are all going to die. It's our common bond. When, where, how and why are all irrelevant. He has still granted us a small reprieve. We are all on death row, but we still have time to appeal. Time. Between now and death.
But we don't know how long. We don't know when the last meeting will be. What would I have said differently if I had known that was the last time I might see her? Now she's in America, and I can talk to her on Skype and video chat. But it's not the same.
Tens of thousands of unsaid good-byes are being buried in this country.
Pain and separation.
The wages of sin is death. But with Christ there is eternal life.
I don't fear death. I don't remember ever fearing death. The process of dying might be a little scary. But death doesn't threaten me. Because death is only a partial good-bye. I will say good-bye to the people here. Many of whom I will not be able to see again in eternity. That's the good-bye I fear with death. But for me I will also have many hellos. Hello to my Father and Savior, King and Husband. Hello to all those I had be parted with before. Never to say good-bye again.
But that is my future, and not my present. How many more good-byes will there be before I get there?
I'm thankful for the chances I've had to say good-bye this past week, because I was able to say it. They are still alive. They still have Time. Maybe...
I'm thankful for the times I wasn't able to say good-bye this week. I am reminded of those who face a greater pain of unspoken good-bye than myself. I understand a little more what it might be like. I understand a little more how God's heart must also be in pain...
But I'm most thankful to know that good-bye is not forever. Hello will be.
(a collage of pictures from my last week of school.)
I'm going to put up one more song by my friend Sing. He wrote this song the week after the disasters. He was told he should write a song to help people cheer up, but he instead wrote a song expressing the pain of unspoken words. I like it because it's real. So many people want to ignore the pain and keep moving forward, almost like it never happened. He's been told a couple of times that it's just too sad of a song, and not appropriate. But I think it is. It's important to have a voice for your pain, and someone to express it for you. Today, instead of cleaning and packing, I translated the song into English. (if you want to see the Japanese lyrics, you can look here at Sing's blog)
English lyrics here (please read while listening to/watching the video)
If you've read this far, I applaud you. Now I have a request. Don't let the time you have go to waste. What if you never get to say good-bye? How many people will be absent in Eternity? How often do I sit at my computer instead of trying to love people? How often do I begrudge the opportunities I have? Is that really OK? The words of the song are real, the pain is real. But it doesn't have to be.
Because we weren't meant to say "good-bye."