But I remember one lady, an elderly lady who worked alongside me at the pregnancy care center, and I remember her goodbye as quite unusual. We loved each other, and she was surely sad to see us go, but she didn’t talk about that so much. Instead, she filled her conversation and her goodbye card to me with encouragement from the Lord, thanking Him for the times we had shared, and praying to Him for future blessings. Then, she ended her card simply,
See you in heaven.
Those four simple words, “see you in heaven,” were startling to me then, and strange enough that they made me think. She had the perspective of age, and perhaps her age gave her this clear-sighted perspective. She did not know how long she had in this world; for that matter, none of us know. My friends and I comforted each other with promises of visits and emails, but these things were unnecessary with her. And in truth, there were further visits, and I have seen her again, and when we parted again, her response was the same: See you in heaven.
The words, the life of this dear saint, has become a sermon to me. She lived , eyes on Jesus, always walking toward her rest in Him. She said her see-ya-later simply, as if to say, “I may see you before then or I may not; we cannot know those things, and how much do they matter, really? We have eternity together, and in Christ we will be reunited when change and tears are forever past! Perhaps we will be allowed more time to encourage each other in the weary journey of this life, perhaps not; but surely we will be together in the great celebration at the end, the final victory, when sin and death and the devil are defeated, when the saints are perfected in love, when we begin the forever days of perfect love and life in the presence of Him who made us his own!”
As I received this open-handed love, it gave me permission to fly, to seek the Lord where He called me to find Him, and to trust Him to restore all that I grieve back again someday, in His timing.
I carry these thoughts with me today, as we say our last round of goodbyes to Indiana.
I want to make more memories with these people. I want to know when I will see them again. Yet these things can only be placed in God’s hand, in His hand that has provided all we have needed and so much more. We place ourselves and those people and places we love in His hand. When the grief tsunamis come, I will curl up and ride them out, in His hand. And when the new joys pour over us, we will receive those also, from His hand.
As we leave our dear friends in Indiana, words cannot recount the ways we have been loved and cared-for here, or the depth of our gratitude. We will miss you dearly, but even as we part, we know that neither you nor we will be so far as to be outside of God's loving hands.
See you in heaven
(and maybe even sooner!)
See you in His hand!