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what my daughter taught me about saying “goodbye”

Goodbye.

I don’t even like that word. But the past few days it’s been ringing loud and clear around our house, weaving itself in and out of conversations and buzzing around our minds like a pesky fly that you just can’t rid yourself of.

Goodbye.

It seems so permanent. It takes joy and somehow seeps the life out of it. It tightens your heart and makes you ache.

Goodbye.

A farewell. A parting.

And that’s where my lesson from a six year old began.

She’s had only one other experience with a friend moving away and really, at the age of 4, I’m not sure that it completely sunk down into the depths of her heart.

But this time, it was different. This time, she felt the sting, both inwardly and as the tears fell down her cheeks.

This time, goodbye felt less like a temporary see you later and more like an infinite departure.

So what did she teach me, as we sat there cuddled together on the couch, shedding tears that seemed limitless?

She taught me so very much.

Perhaps, though that tender moment with her was really the pinnacle. The lessons had been scattered throughout the day.

 

1) Treasure the time

Lost time is never found again. – Benjamin Franklin

Enjoy the blessings of sweet friendships that the Lord has given you.  Value those individuals and make the time to spend with them. The people who love you, for you- they are precious gems. When you have found a friendship like that cultivate it. Laugh together. Celebrate together. Rejoice together. Pray together. Walk through life together, in the highs and lows. Treasure the time and the person. They are such gifts from the Lord.

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I watched my sweet little girl, play with one of her dearest friends, one last time before their move. I heard precious conversations, countless giggles and silly stories. I was so thankful for that time, not just for Eden and Grace, but for my mommy heart as well. It was a wonderful reminder that no matter how old we are, the beauty of a true friendship is indescribable.
We should not only make the time, but we should truly treasure the time as well.

Friends come and friends go,
but a true friend sticks by you like family.
Proverbs 18:24 (The Message)

2) Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing

You must go forward on your knees. -Hudson Taylor

Despite the circumstances, keep your center fixed on what matters the most in life: The Giver of Life – who desires an intimate relationship with you. Communicate with the Lord- all the time. Tell Him when your happy and likewise, tell Him when your heart is heavy. Ask Him to give you wisdom, to show you grace, to comfort you and then rest confidently in His promises.  He won’t leave you.

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While playing a board game, Eden expressed an interest in praying for Grace before she left. Sitting knee to knee in front of our fireplace, I listened as my six year old daughter asked the God of the Universe to bless Grace in her move, to give her new friends to play with, to laugh with and to grow with. Then an hour later, with tear stained eyes, curled up in my lap, I listened to Eden pray again,  that God would help her heart not to hurt and that He would allow their friendship to continue despite the distance. Sweet, simple six year old prayers. Prayers that gave new perspective and brought peace.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

3)It’s OK to Cry

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. -Washington Irving

Laughter is important. It’s necessary even. And so are tears. How easy it is to keep your emotions bottled inside and to forget the beauty of transparency. The Bible is replete with cases of individuals crying. Even Jesus wept.

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As we gave our last hugs, I felt a few tears begin to trickle down my face. I had committed to myself and others that I simply wasn’t going to cry. After all, I’m beyond thrilled for the incredible opportunity that the Lord has provided for our friends! Lots of tears didn’t need to be a part of that process right? And then we walked away, Eden hugging my leg as we entered our home and closed the door. And then tears came. From a little girl’s eyes, they fell to the ground and she collapsed in my arms. In that moment, the grand lesson wasn’t earth shattering. It was simply to meet her where she was. It was to cry with her. To show her that it’s ok to be vulnerable, that it’s ok to yearn for something different than reality, but to also lean into the promises of God, to understand that though we may not always understand His ways- they are always higher than our own. In those tender moments, we   allowed ourselves the opportunity to be real with one another and with the emotions swirling through our hearts. And I’m so glad we did. The beauty in the tears, is that there was hope waiting just around the corner. An excitement, anticipation really, to see how the Lord will continue to grow our friendships, though many miles apart. And the knowledge that one day Eden will be able to help someone else feeling the same way because she’s been comforted by the Lord when her heart was heavy.

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times,
and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (The Message)

Goodbye.

It’s still not my favorite word.

It’s origin however, I’m starting to like.

Goodbye- an alteration of God be with you, used circa 1580.

Yes, God be with you.

God be with you sweet friends on this new journey and may The One who called you be faithful to meet all your needs along the way.

April 4, 2013 - 9:45 am

Sharon Slater Miller - How beautiful your words and your pictures are of these little girls friendship. I am Robins cousin and I know first hand about saying goodbye, as a military wife as well as seeing my grown children taking off.
Do entertain the idea of traveling to visit it makes yet another adventure for learning when travel can include visiting and not just a vacation. I am excited to say that I will be traveling to meet my cousins family for the first as they arrive in their new home which is now only 3 hours from mine.
We are first cousins but she is actually my daughters age.
Thank you so much for such a beautiful tribute to these darling little young ladies

April 4, 2013 - 9:12 am

Kalyn - Tears were forming the further down the page I read. Such sweet pictures of the girls! You explained what so many can’t put into words with biblical application & encouragement; appreciate it. Eden & Grace are already growing in this. God was truly smiling as Eden prayed for Grace…wow.

April 4, 2013 - 8:06 am

Dee - Beautiful photographs of two very precious little girls – God be with you …forever friends

April 4, 2013 - 1:57 am

Janice - Beautifully said. Expressing the same sentiments as all of us grown-up little girls who also had to say goodbye to our grown-up friend. *sigh* Goodbyes are not easy, but the tears were important. Yes, God be with you friends!

Thanks for sharing your heart Annie! Love YOU friend!

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