It’s common knowledge that I am a disaster at goodbyes.
When I was a kid I was moved half way across the world with promises that we’d be back in a year. We never moved back. Ever since then I’ve never trusted a single goodbye to be temporary.
One time I had to say goodbye to a dog I had grown attached to and I wept like a baby for a solid half hour. Couple of things you should know: It wasn’t my dog; it belonged to a friend. She’d had it about 4 days. I was 27 years old. Issues.
Knowing all that, I had been bracing myself for this morning’s goodbye for a little while.
I have friends who are like family to me and they’re moving to the other side of the world for the sake of the Gospel. They don’t just say they believe in Jesus and His mission. They have sold their house and all their possessions and, with their 5 month old baby in tow, they’re running full speed to a pretty dangerous place.
This morning I watched them across the airport lobby, checking their bags as I held their son in my arms. The sister and best friend of another member of their team stood there with me and we passed the baby from one to another. Next time we see him he will be too big to tuck under our arms the way we can now.
As we distracted each other with random questions about our plans for the weekend, someone threw out the thought: imagine how dumb we are if we’re wrong about God.
We laughed out loud. It seemed hysterical to us: three total idiots – standing in an airport, sending our best friends as far away as possible to tell people about some magic Santa Claus in the sky.
But when our laughter died down our eyes met and their was a sober joy in each of our hearts.
Because we are banking everything on the fact that we’re not wrong. And on mornings like this, the ‘everything‘ we’re banking feels a lot bigger. We’re banking a baby and a family and the safety of some of the dearest people to us in the world on the fact that God is real and His Word is true.
Honestly, it’s breathtakingly encouraging. Even in the tangled mess of unbelief that lurks in our hearts, we do believe. That’s why we were laughing. That’s why we can say goodbye with tears and pain, but not despair. That’s why the word ‘crazy’ has never crossed our mind and the thought that this is ‘foolishness’ is a joke in an airport lobby; not a real concern.
We’re in. We’ve put all our chips on the table and we’re in.
Whether we’re right or wrong – we’re in. No turning back now. We’re going to spend our lives for this Man who we believe is God.
Turns out, I’m getting better at goodbyes. In June I had a goodbye where it actually was the end, and I thought that might make today impossible, but it didn’t. Because this goodbye is temporary. It may be a year, it maybe be four years or it may be a lifetime, but I will see this family again.
Maybe eternity will be long enough for me to get tired of them. 😉