The thought comes to me often. My wife and I routinely watch our 3 and a half year-old grandson at our house during the week. He is all boy, going one hundred miles per hour all day long. He is into everything all at once and you can’t take your eyes off him for a moment. Yet, he has a very tender, sensitive side to him. He really likes to smell things… candles, food, acorns, worms… anything new. And, he really likes to help his Grandma cook. When she is preparing a meal, it never fails that he pulls up a chair right next to her, so he can watch and be in the middle of the action. I think he will always remember and cherish those times “helping” his Grandma cook.
I ran across the following this week. It was one of those friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend posts on Facebook, but it made me pause and think when I read it:
“How do you say goodbye to the one who taught you everything? From learning the alphabet to baking the best goodies, she was by my side through it all. Having to say goodbye to two grandparents within two days is unimaginable but somehow, here I am having to figure it out. This may be the hardest thing I will ever have to endure but I know through God, I can get through it. Rest easy Grandma, you lived one heck of a life. I will love you forever and always.” – Anonymous –
Someday, our little grandson will have to face what this young lady faced this week… saying goodbye to the one that taught him how to make chocolate chip cookies. On the one hand, this is sad and heartbreaking. But, in another way, it can be a source of joy and encouragement to us. That Grandma mentioned in Facebook had a truly amazing impact on her granddaughter. Being by her side throughout her life was a blessing that we would each cherish. There is nothing more satisfying than pouring yourself into someone else, especially if that ‘someone else’ is a child.
So, that brings me to the question of the day… Are you pouring your life into someone else to the point that saying goodbye might be one of the hardest thing they would ever have to endure? Are you making a difference for a family member, a coworker, a neighbor, a classmate, or anyone else?
There have been a number of times in my life before or after meeting with someone when I think, “This (that) might be the last time I ever see him or her.” Let’s face it, there are always “last times” when we move, or change jobs, or shift to life’s next chapter. Recognizing and admitting this can bring a sense of sadness. But, when we can say that we did our best to make a difference to that person or that our life is richer for having known him/her, the sadness is somewhat tempered.
Saying goodbye is never easy, but when you’ve lived your life with intentionality – striving to make an impact – and worked to leave the very best of yourself behind, you know you’ve done your best. Thanks to all of you that have left such an imprint on my own life!