A couple of months ago, church was just hard. I had to say good-bye to dreams and learn how to welcome reality.
I walked to church that morning because we had car troubles. The sun shone brightly for the first time in weeks and it felt good to stretch my legs. My family had gone other ways since the car broke down so I was alone. I contemplated the morning ahead of me: helping out in Sunday school and running away from the question that was sure to come. The question that I would have to say no to. The question that hurt me so much. Are you going to Mexico?
Before I turned into the parking lot, I saw a little girl dash out of her door dressed in pajamas. She began to unravel the Christmas lights from a little tree in the yard. I don’t know why, but this caught my eye.
For some reason, I stuck around after church. I don’t know why I did it. I’d already made my decision not to go to Mexico so there was really no point.
“Are you coming to the meeting today?” my youth pastor asked as I finally went to the foyer to leave.
“No,” I replied. “I-I’m not going to Mexico.”
He looked disappointed. “Why not?”
“I just don’t really feel called to go. I don’t think God wants me to go this year. I’m not needed and I don’t need it, as much as I want to go.” I said. “And believe me — I want to go to Mexico more than anything. But I really just don’t think He wants me to go.”
“Well, that sounds like a good reason. We’ll miss you though,” he said.
“Thanks,” I said through tears. I watched the others enter the activity room where the meeting was to be held. Some of them had gone before, some of them were new. I envied my friends and asked God why. “Why can’t I go back? I’ve dreamed of it for so long? Why can’t you call me back? Please God! Why do I have to say good-bye again?”
But the Good defeated the bad and I heard His voice loudly and clearly…
“Don’t say good-bye. This is not the end. New things are coming. Good things. Say hello, not good-bye.”
I smiled. It was true. Yes, He was right. I put on my coat with a happy heart. Just because I wasn’t going to Mexico didn’t mean that God had forgotten about me. He was calling me somewhere else. Somewhere better for me. And who knows? Maybe I’ll go back to Mexico someday. It doesn’t matter though. Saying good-bye is irrelevant. Hello is the word to use for the future He has planned out.
As I walked back, I saw the girl who had been unfastening Christmas lights earlier. Now she was drawing a chalk house in the drive way. I was reminded of my younger days of chalk castles and neighbour friends and I felt the nostalgia and sadness come back. But only for a moment.
“Hello,” I said, smiling at the girl as I went.
“Hi,” she replied, looking up from her chalk.
I grinned. I’d said hello not good-bye. I can do this. I really can.
I wrote this post back in February, but over these last few months, these feelings have become even truer as I prepare to graduate and start a new life at university in the fall. While I am very excited to begin this new life, I am also apprehensive. I don’t want to say good-bye to everything I’ve known and loved.
But God is showing me once more that life is about saying hello, not good bye. Today, I was officially accepted into university after months of second guessing and debating. With enthusiasm, I said Hello and Thank you, God!
God has a wonderful future planned out for you, too! Don’t ever forget that He has your very best in mind. He loves you. So say Hello and not Good-bye.