Life is one long goodbye. Meaning, as we live and grow older, we will eventually have to say goodbye to the people we love and things we once enjoyed doing. In the Life of Pi, Yann Martel wrote, “I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.”
So, how do you say goodbye? Do you take offense easily and hold on to petty grudges? Do you tear people down with your words and actions or place your value into superficial things? Do you say goodbye by telling those close to you that you love them? Do you build others up? Do you forgive those who hurt you? Do you spend time with your loved ones? Do you give back and help others in need? Our everyday behaviors, words, and actions throughout our lives is how we say goodbye.
As Christians, we say goodbye in three distinctive ways: by serving, loving, and forgiving.
"Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” - Mark 9:35
As I have previously shared, my father died at the age of 37, when I was two years old. His passing has always stayed with me, and because of it, I sometimes suffer from death anxiety. I fear dying prematurely. That fear is based on the belief that one must live a long life in order to have lived a significant one. A long life does not equate to significance; our service does. We oftentimes think that we must be rich, famous, or have a certain number of followers in order to serve and have influence. God has given each of us a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever (1 Peter 4:11)! Your service matters! When you serve others, do it with a pure heart, seeking effectiveness and not fame.
“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” - 1 Peter 4:8
When we love and express that love to others, it is as close as we can get to God here on earth. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8). Do not withhold your love from others. Do not let a day go by where you do not express your love to those God has placed in your life. Invest the time, send the text message, make the phone call, take the trip, and yes, give the money – do not take this current moment for granted because tomorrow is promised to none of us.
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” - Mark 11:25
How unfortunate it is to live a life of unforgiveness and offense when God in His love has forgiven you for your sins, mistakes, and trespasses against Him. Forgiving is not about staying in a toxic relationship or letting people hurt you. It is about not holding onto that hurt to the point where it disconnects you from God’s blessings.
Martel also wrote, “It's important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise, you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse.” Life is short and fragile, filled with many highs and lows, but by serving, loving, and forgiving others, we make it meaningful and purpose-filled.
How do you say goodbye?