As TCKs (third culture kids), we have to say goodbyes more often than the average person. People are constantly going and coming and sometimes we even have to say goodbye to family members as they go off to college or move back to the US.
Goodbyes are hard to say. It aches to mutter such final words. It’s a whole lot easier and saves a lot of heart ache to just not say goodbye. Later on, though, when the suitcases are out of sight and the memories flood into your mind, you’ll regret not saying goodbye and your friendship might even suffer from it. In the end, it’s worth saying goodbye and when you say it, make sure it’s well said. Here are three ways to say goodbye well…
1. Forgive and Forget. Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” If there’s anything from the past that you need to ask forgiveness for, do it. Also, if there’s anything that you still have against the person that’s leaving, forgive her/him. You don’t want to say goodbye when there are still some cobwebs in your relationship. Even if it’s painful, and even if you have to initiate, bring everything out in the open and forgive.
2. Be intentional. Purposefully ask for a time to say goodbye. Whether that’s just ten minutes together or talking over ice cream or coffee for an hour, make time to talk about all of your past memories and let the person know how much they mean to you. Exchange contact information if you don’t already have it. List things you love about that person. Take a last picture. Use this time to forgive each other for past instances. Pray together. Don’t make your last moments together a teary, achy, miserable experience. Enjoy the company of this person and leave knowing you ended well.
3. Be thankful. Be thankful for the opportunity of getting to know this person. Instead of being gloomy, be joyful about all the wonderful memories you have together and look to the future for all the new memories you’ll make. Sometimes the sweetest friendships develop best at distances. Stay optimistic and continue to pray for your friend. Also, look forward to the new relationships God will bring into your life.
Next time you have to say goodbye to someone you love, remember to end well and confidently say goodbye knowing your relationships is on the right track. Also, remember that if your friend has a personal relationship with Jesus, then one day you will be together again in Heaven and there will be no more goodbyes. And even though sometimes it’s easy to forget, we all do have one friend that we will never ever have to say goodbye to: God. Take your aches and hurts and broken friendships to Him and let Him heal you with His perfect friendship.