This is the time of year when we say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. It’s time to settle down to routines and structure and get back into a rhythm of a schedule. Our social media feeds are filled with pictures of kids with backpacks climbing on school buses or pictures of dorm rooms set up for the new college year. Goodbyes are said. Tears slip out and parents turn away leaving a piece of themselves behind.
It’s the cycle of life. These hard “see ya laters” and empty arms lend to more free time than we could possibly have imagined when the kids were smaller and more demanding of our time and energy. When we drop them off at school, college or their military posts, we are reminded that they are growing and moving toward independence. The long days slipped into months that somehow made the years all too short.
We’ve all been there in one form or another; as children, adolescents, young adults and parents. Somewhere along the way, we were the ones waving goodbye to our parents and families and now we are the ones waving goodbye to our own children. Life is filled with ‘see ya laters’ and, although it’s never easy, it is a part of our earthly experience. Change happens and time marches on.
Saying ‘so long’ to our children is extremely emotional. However, if we recognize that the goodbyes are not so much goodbye as they are “hellos” to new possibilities, then our thinking has shifted from the sadness of the goodbye to the excitingness of the hello. Especially for them since we recognize that God has a special plan for their lives. His purpose is to grow them and prosper them into His will. This provides a comforting promise that they are better off in God’s will than in ours. Knowing this alleviates a lot of pressure and hopefully will turn our hearts and minds from that place of worry to a place of faith and rest.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.“
My favorite example at this time is, of course, our young soldier son. The goodbye was extremely difficult. As prepared as we were when he joined the Army, we had been more concerned for him and his well-being than what we would go through as his parents and siblings (as it should be). Those 15 weeks of long silence with just a few letters from him and fewer short phone calls were definitely a serious challenge of separation, so to speak.
We said goodbye to our quiet 18-year old boy standing in the Army recruiter’s parking lot as they drove him away in a van. When we saw him again 10 weeks later and then again at the end of his training, we said hello to our strong confident young man who happened to now be poised to defend and protect our nation. The hello was certainly worth the goodbye. Of course at the end of those two days celebrating his accomplishments as a newly minted US Army Infantrymen, we had to say goodbye once again. Only this time — it was a “Until we see you again.” At this writing, we don’t know when that will be or where; however, we anticipate with joy that reunion with him. We also are aware that this is the way it will be during his time in the military–there will be many tearful ‘see ya later’s’ followed by joyous hellos.
So, if you’ve said so long (or are preparing to do so) to your child entering Kindergarten or college or the military or they are getting married, it’s okay to feel those pangs of sadness, let the tears flow. Acknowledge that, although it is painful to let them go, the pain has been worth it because of the joy of the hello that follows.
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
– Winnie the Pooh –
Goodbyes are never easy; however, remember when you say goodbye that something wonderful is shifting, and our hope is always that something better is beginning. Tearful goodbyes followed by exuberant hellos is life. May you be comforted and feeling the love as you prepare for your next hello. And, yes go ahead and share in the comments below and post those goodbye and hello stories for us to share with you in your life.
Fall is upon us and the need for changing things up and saying goodbye to what’s not working makes room for saying hello to something better. Get ready to say “HELLO” to prospering. Join me on September 19th for a FREE Webinar: Empowered to Prosper. We can’t wait to share a prosperous fall with you!