Saying goodbye and saying hello
Helping children learn about God's care
Saying goodbye can be just as hard for grown-ups as for kids. This author took on new responsibilities and was no longer teaching her class at her church. As she thought about the move, she wrote this letter to two of the students whose mom had mentioned they missed her:
Dear Ella and Clara,
Saying goodbye to someone you love is a lot like saying "no." You don't like to do it, you wish you didn't have to do it, but sometimes you need to do it.
If moms and dads didn't say no, think what a world we would have everybody doing just as they please because they never were told no. Want to stay home from school and eat candy all day and play video games? OK. We are your mom and dad and want you to love us, so we won't say no. But just think about what would happen if children wanted to put their hands on something hot and no one said no.
No is an important word. It can protect us. No, there is a time for school and a time for video games; right now it is time for school. No, don't put your hands on the stove while I am cooking; it's hot. And the goodbye part is when I have to say, "No, I can't be your teacher right now, because I was given another job to do." So, this is a letter about saying goodbye and hello.
Some days, I feel sad not being your teacher, and your mom tells me you're sad. What can we do about it? The first thing would be to take our sad feelings to God. When you think about God as loving you, can you imagine Him creating a situation where we're so happy and then so sad? That doesn't seem very loving to me. But the Bible tells us that God is Love. It isn't just what He does now and then or every Tuesday and twice on Thursday. He is Love. This is actually another name for Him. So if we pray to God, we can also pray using the name Love.
I close my eyes and say, "Hello, Love. Today I have to say goodbye to my students as their teacher. I want to remember that You, Love, never send me sadness, so you wouldn't send them sadness."
Then I look around at the beauty of the world. It's spring, and tiny green buds are coming out of the ground. All winter that same patch of ground looked empty, but now I can see the little buds and know that soon I will have daffodils instead of dirt. I never got sad or mad when the ground looked bare. I just knew spring would bring something good.
God is in charge of gardens and of people. As Love, God doesn't let us down. But we can expect and look for new beginnings, new buds springtime. When it's time for a new season, like summer, we can watch for the day lilies. When it's time for fall, we can watch for orange and red leaves from the big maple trees to cover the ground. Finally, in winter we'll see the whole yard as a sea of white snow.
God doesn't let the garden down, and He doesn't let us down either. Instead of sad, bad, or even mad feelings, we can wake up every day with a "what do you have for me today?" feeling. Love will not disappoint you or me.
So even though we say goodbye to our time as teacher and student, we can say hello to a new kind of friendship. Won't it be fun to watch Love give you a wonderful new teacher? Then you can tell me all about what you are learning, and I will learn, too, just listening to you. Just as God still loves you, I still do, too!
I may not be your teacher, but that doesn't mean I've stopped loving you! Let's not let change feel like a bad thing, any more than we would say, "Uh oh, the garden is changing; I'm going to be sad when the daffodils are gone." We will smile at each other and know that just because things are different, they are still going to be in good hands Love's plan for us all.
Your former teacher
but forever friend,
'God is Love.' More than this
we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go.
Mary Baker Eddy
(founder of the Monitor)