The Day We Had to Say Goodbye - A Dose of Encouragement

Well our life here in Banbridge has changed once again.

For two weeks this year our daughter was home from South Korea and for the first of those two weeks our son was over from Leeds, England.  That meant we had a week in which the whole family (including our other son and daughter-in-law in Belfast) could do some things together, and we did have some nice meals and outings.

With visits there are all the hellos and hugs and lots of chat and catch up but there are also the goodbyes.  So it came that we first had to say goodbye to Jonathan and then last Friday it was goodbye to Linda.  Fortunately this time we have hopes of seeing her at Christmas for a quick visit back here because she really wants to be able to meet her nephew/niece who is due at the end of October.

This all brought back memories of another goodbye.

One which took place in February 2013.........

Our daughter Linda came back from university to live with us in September 2012 and all along we knew it was probably only for about 5/6 months while she decided what she wanted to do after completing her Masters Degree in Creative Writing.

Then on a Tuesday in February 2013 we drove her to Dublin Airport to fly to Dubai and then on to South Korea, where she was going to teach English in a school there for at least a year with the EPIK organisation.

Having had her with us for those months (after having seen her toddle off from our home in Belgium to university in Norwich in 2006 and then stay on there for a couple of years working and then another year at the university) our way of life did change somewhat from living as a couple who are very easy going with regards to when we do things, to three people in the equation of when we are going out, when we are eating, what we are eating, more detailed conversations and a lot more listening from us.

Now that extra dimension in the household had gone again.

Those last few weeks of her time with us had been very busy getting her visa organized, tickets, vaccinations, hospital appointments, dental appointments, shopping, going to certain types of  restaurants she may not have the chance to get to for a long time, visiting friends and family, saying goodbye to people at church, deciding what to pack and trying to sort out all her other stuff that will have to stay here (2 cases with a total of 30kg does not allow for much of her belongings to make the trip with her).

Then I was left with an empty bedroom to Spring Clean and find a space for all the bags and boxes she filled and left there.

If Fred did not work from home I think this would have been a very lonely time but as it was we just had to revert back to the way we were before she arrived, the way we had grown into since we came to Banbridge.

People may have said we should have taken the opportunity to make other changes then instead of going back to our old way.

Were we just going backward or should we have been determined to be different?

I think a lot of time could have been wasted in trying to

         decide what is best 
and analyzing it all about what we may have learned 
from the situation 
and how to use that insight to develop further 

when really we should just be living the way God wants us to live and doing each day what He prompts us to do.  I actually think the analysing and learning and insight bit sounds more like a business situation.

This doesn't have to be a mind changing event or life altering event, it is just something that happened on one day of our lives and was a sad occasion.

Today we are living another day in our lives in our walk with God

The following day, all the days in between and today we are living another day in our lives in our walk with God. There is no point in reading a lot into a situation just to have something to talk endlessly about but in the end do nothing anyway.

Everyone will view a situation differently depending on the type of person they are and how they see their relationship with God.  We cannot expect everyone to be the same as us or the same as others we have known.

We can only look at our own relationship with God and be prepared to make the small or bigger changes He wants us to make when it is right in His plan.

While Linda was back again this year she acknowledged that her move to South Korea had been the right move at the right time and spoke of how God had been helping her to grow in her faith even in a country where she does not understand a lot of the language.

We are thankful that she is happy there and we know that God has given her good friends and a good church family.

Even so it was hard again last week when we had to say those goodbyes again.

Some things change but some things don't - goodbyes are always hard.

But again I am reminded of the plaque we were given in 2004 when we were leaving Northern Ireland to go to live in Belgium

Yes the Lord is with us wherever we go, or wherever we stay 
and he is with you wherever you go or stay 
when you are a child of God, living each day for Him.

The important thing is that wherever we go 
we are living each day for Him.