This is the time of year when I say goodbye for now nearly every day. My youth are heading to college. For those who are returning, our final times are filled with updates on summer and plans for the year. A nice hug, a prayer and a reminder to stay in touch.
But it is the final lunch or breakfast with my youth that are leaving for the first time that gets me the most. I’ve had breakfast and lunch nearly every day this week with these youth and so nearly every day this week has had some tears. I just can’t help it. I make it through most of the meal and then as the inevitable is nearing and goodbyes are coming, the tears start. I’ve learned to embrace and accept them. God uses it as a way to let the kids know how much I really love them and that they will be missed. God also uses it to allow them to face some of the emotions they are feeling with the impending changes. There is excitement and fear, hope and worry. I don’t know how parents do it. After six years, my heart hurts to say goodbye and to know that I won’t see them at every event or each week. One of my guys has been at my house almost every Tuesday night for the last four years!! That is a routine that I will greatly miss.
At the same time, I am so excited about seeing what God has in store for them. Excited, scared, hopeful and worried – just like them. You never know what a day will bring in life. The very best that I could have given them is to guide them to a faith that is their own so that they know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God goes with them – just as my prayers and love do as well.
What a honor and joy to have shared this journey of their life. I look forward to hearing and seeing the rest of the journey.