I watched my daughter say goodbye, one by one, to her friends. Over a couple weeks time she spent extra time with the people she loves before she readied to leave for school in Montana. As the day got closer, she got sadder, yet she wanted to just get it over with; the long goodbye wearing on her heart.
Finally, the day came and she said goodbye to her family and to her closest friends. It was hard to watch her say tearful, painful farewells to people she dearly loves, yet the questions had been asked. Are you sure? Are you ready? Is this God’s will?
and “Yes, I think so” were the answers.
And, I had to ask the same questions of myself. Her goodbyes were my goodbyes and in a couple of weeks our oldest daughter and family leave too. It seems like so many things are ending. Goodbyes are all around me. Endings everywhere I turn.
Everything had been done to discern the right path and now all that was left was the doing. So, she and I boarded a plane. I came to help her get set up and then after a few days, fly back home. There goes my vow to not cry in airports any more.
We took off from Hawaii at night and the darkness seemed to match our mood. Heaviness and grief flew with us over the Pacific; it was a quiet flight. We approached San Francisco in the predawn early morning hours and we could see all of the little twinkling lights of the city. We deplaned and went to wait for our next flight. As we sat and looked bleary-eyed out the airport windows, the San Francisco
dawn rose over the hills and a little bit of the heaviness lifted, the hills seemed to speak a promise of a new day.
We took off on our next flight and watched as the Pacific coast turn into interior farm land, then desert. At this point clouds began to obscure the landscape – a little at first and then thicker and thicker until we couldn’t see anything. I turned from the window and read, listened to worship music and my MP3 Bible.
Later, when I peered out my window again, the clouds had mostly dissipated into little puffs of cotton laid out in ropes like strings of pearls.
As the terrain changed and the mountains became higher and the pines grew taller, my feelings of grief began to wane. As we flew closer it became more about what we were going to, rather than what we were leaving. A feeling of excitement, of anticipation…even adventure, began to replace a bit of the sadness. As we started to descend, the weight of many things began to fall from my heart and shoulders.
God has a new journey in store for us…I can feel it. I don’t know what it will look like exactly or what it will mean entirely, but I know that when I say goodbye to my daughter next week and get on that plane to fly home, it’s not the end of an era…it’s the beginning of a new adventure.