My First Goodbye
When I was a little girl life was a fairytale. I grew up playing in fields that once were raspberry fields and were now just rolling hills of tall grass. I walked, ran and just sat in them, "fighting Indians", "walking across the Oregon Trail" or was Laura Ingalls and always by my side was "my" dog Lad. He was my first friend, my first love and I thought he'd always be there by my side. I had no worries or fears. But we all have lessons to learn in this life and it seems mine are to say goodbye.
One day or morning I should say, I woke up and came down to the kitchen and ran to find Lad where he always was before, sleeping on an old rug on the deck by the back door, but this morning he wasn't there and I knew something was wrong. I asked my mama where he was and she told me the sad news that he was dead. I felt like my whole world had come crashing down, my heart was broken. It was my first bitter taste of grief. The first time I felt the reality of life. That was my first goodbye.
The Second Goodbye
Lets go ahead a few years. I'm nine years old. Before I was born my mama was diagnosed with brain cancer and though she had had surgery to remove the tumor it wasn't all removed and the cancer has come back. My mama's battle to survive has begun and it didn't take long for the mama I knew and loved to disappear and a tired and weary woman took her place. There was no more morning breakfasts made by her loving hands to start off the day, no more bedtime readings or prayers. No more trips to the store or her delicious suppers. No more carefree days, but days spent in fear of another seizure, another trip to the hospital. It was going to bed at night knowing I could be awakened to be told the ambulance was coming again to take mama to the hospital. My mama and my childhood were gone. That was my second goodbye.
The Third Goodbye
Five years later, when I was the tender age of fourteen I watched my mama take her last breath. Her weary body had finally had enough and she left this world to spend eternity with Jesus. Once again I tasted the bitterness of grief. Another goodbye. (I don't remember much of what happened the first years after her death, my first clear memories I have are when we were living in SC, two years later.)
The Fourth Goodbye
I'm sixteen, my dad has remarried. They remodel my childhood home, and in a sense a piece of my mama. At a time I need security and stability once again my world is turned upside down. My home is gone, my mama's kitchen, her old rocking chair, my bedroom, and our old way of life with it. My fourth goodbye is for my earthly home.
The Fifth Goodbye
Since I was three years old there was a place that always stayed the same. Through all the hard, sad, crazy, foggy times and all the other goodbyes it was always there. It was The Ranch. Not a real working ranch but a cabin in the mountains of Oregon. A place where we drove and rode four-wheelers, had bonfires and family gatherings. Camping, swimming in the river, exploring the woods. Wildlife was everywhere and the wild flowers brought color to the otherwise mostly brown world of the ranch. It was where I felt the closest to God, where I found rest for my weary soul and body.
It was the closest thing I had left on earth to a real home. But once again goodbyes must be said. The Ranch was sold, no more can we visit the beautiful world of wildflowers, humming birds, river swimming, four-wheeler riding, carefree ice-skating on the pond, sledding down the snowy hills days of the ranch. So a fifth goodbye.
Through all my life, through all the goodbyes there is one lesson I have learned. It is that there is a God. He is real and alive and always there. I've learned that Jesus is not only in the days of my childhood, a house or at the ranch. He is with me, in me. I'm slowly learning that no matter what, I will be ok, that goodbyes aren't really the end and even though He might take something, someone, someplace from me, He will never be taken from me! And like chapters in a book, when one comes to an end another one starts so is life like. Each of us must live out our chapters one at a time till Jesus comes to take us home and we close our book with The End and fly to our Heavenly home.
So I will, with Jesus' helping hand, live each chapter of my life for Him! For that is the only purpose of life, where we find the true meaning of our lives and true peace.
Its been a long hard road and I know there's more ahead. But With Jesus as my guide I'll reach my destination. :)