I have come to discover that one of the most difficult aspects of life is saying good-bye. Good-byes are especially difficult when you know that this is the end of something versus just a temporary separation. These good-byes can be between individuals, but also can be to a certain period or location in our lives. There always is some grief associated with this type of good-bye. Today I said good-bye to a business that I have been frequenting over the last couple of years. One of our local coffee shops announced that tomorrow will be the last day they are open for business. So today I felt sadness as I left the door of the business one last time.
I am part of a group that has gathered for coffee in the morning usually six mornings a week for the last eleven years (the group has gathered longer than that but I just joined eleven years ago). When I joined the group, it was gathering at a local coffee shop that was located in the business district. That location closed with much sadness two years ago so the group moved to a new coffee shop that opened right after the previous one closed. For the last two years we have enjoyed coffee, laughter, and the fellowship of one another in our new location. We adapted fairly well. But now our “new” coffee shop has been forced to close.
I think part of the reason that these good-byes have been so sad is that in both situations, they closed not completely of their own accord but because of the selling of the building in which they were located. I think even more importantly, saying good-bye to these businesses means saying good-bye to the individuals who work there whom you have seen and talked with every morning. For me, it is difficult to know that those individuals I may not see as regularly as I had grown accustomed to and that is sad.
The positive is that the coffee group adapts and goes on. We have developed our plan regarding where we will gather starting next Monday. We will have changes but those changes will be alright. We will learn new names of employees and will continue to laugh and have fellowship.
All of this reminds me of the promise of the Lord. We know that there will always be good-byes in our lives. Some of them will be temporary separations (trips, extended periods of working elsewhere, even death). Some of them will be lasting (closed businesses, permanent relocation, ending of relationships). Whatever the case, the Lord promises that there will be a time when good-byes will be no more. Until then, the Lord promises to always be beside us and assist us with the pain of good-byes.