photos and writings by June Friesen
Goodbye – what does it mean? Why do we say it? To whom do we say it? And why is it easy to say goodbye sometimes and other times it is so hard? As we are at the juncture that comes every 365 days – that of saying goodbye to another year–is it a goodbye that we are relishing in or is it a goodbye that we are reluctant to say? Over my lifetime I have said many, many goodbyes and some were definitely easier than others. As we say goodbye to a year that has passed there are times when we are glad the year is past and we can begin a brand-new year. Other years may have held special treasured moments and it is hard to say goodbye to those times and realize that they are now but a memory. As I am saying goodbye to 2021 I realize how many blessings I have gained in the midst of what may have seemed at the time a struggle. I have been blessed to develop new friendships, to find ways to develop and nurture these new friendships, how to push myself to learn new things and think beyond my comfort zone – a comfort zone of my own creating without consulting God. And I really am thankful that I accepted the challenge God placed before me – and have said yes. It kind of reminds me of the verse where God said, “Behold, I will show you a new thing.” Yes, God has done that, and now as I look forward, I might say that I am a little eager to see what it is that God has in store now as the “2022 New Thing.”
Today I am choosing the Scripture that captures the last moments of Jesus here on this planet we call earth. Some of us will find ourselves saying goodbye/goodbyes in 2022, planned or unplanned. It may be to a place where we have lived or are living. It may be to a relationship. It may be to a neighborhood/neighbors or possibly a family pet. Jesus too said goodbye to His disciples when He returned to heaven but He also gave a promise that is for us today as well – one day He would return. Often when we move and say goodbye we leave with the promise that we will return again as well. Let us read from Acts 1.
1-5 Dear Theophilus, in the first volume of this book I wrote on everything that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he said good-bye to the apostles, the ones he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. After his death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.”
Jesus was with His disciples here and we are not sure of how many others there may have been present at this moment. We do have a recorded number of 120 being present in the room when the Holy Spirit first descended but it does not say if all of them heard Jesus’ final promise at His ascension. It was difficult for the disciples to say goodbye to Jesus just as it is for you and I to say goodbye. And when there is a finality to our goodbye as there was here for the disciples, we struggle with the reality that this person/relationship will now be but a memory. As we think about the year that we have just completed, 2021, it too is now but a memory. It will hold good memories as well as not-so-good memories. And the year 2022 presents itself as a brand-new gift to be opened and lived – something new, never before experienced, yet created by God for each one of us to experience. And yes, each one of us with our individuality as well as uniqueness will experience it differently. Our uniqueness, our individuality, our differences do not mean we cannot share the year together. No, rather it is a unique opportunity to engage one another in community and friendship as we explore this new wonder, this new beginning of yet one more year to live together for the glory of God.
And so I find myself challenged to wait with God…..as I embark on yet another journey on this planet called earth.
Would you come with me on journey –
A journey that has not yet been taken by another –
A journey that holds unknowns,
A journey that holds new experiences,
A journey that will unfold but one day – no rather one minute at a time,
A journey the Spirit invites one to begin with that first step even if it is hesitant and slow.
Will you invite another and another….
To come and walk together with you, with us….
We can walk hand in hand, encouraging and helping one another,
Day by day, moment by moment…
One step forward, another step forward….
And possibly a step to the left or the right and maybe even backwards a time or two.
I invite you to prepare your heart for some new experiences,
I invite you to keep your focus upon My Spirit
As it is He who will guide you upon the right path,
Helping you to negotiate the rocks, the holes, the curves, the mountains,
The valleys, the mud puddles, the turbulent rivers, the storms as well as the calms,
As well as the smooth, even, sun-warmed, flowery spaces.
Yes, together you and I can walk, one moment at a time, one day at a time,
We will negotiate together the challenges, the unknowns, the planned and unplanned spaces,
The sun will rise each morning even if we do not see it with our eye as well as it will set each evening,
Sometimes you will remember that I am right beside you and other times you may not be conscious of my presence,
But as I have prepared this year ahead, I was mindful of each step that you would be taking,
And as you trust in me, I am sure that you will find that living this year in My Presence will make it one that is worth living to the very fullest.
Signed, The Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
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