austintosweden4

So, today was the day we have dreaded. It was also the day we have so looked forward to.

So it is with endings…and beginnings.  You can’t have one without the other and one brings on lots of tears while another can bring on so much joy.  It all depends on what is ending and what is beginning. So often, you get both in both…tears and joys in endings and beginnings.  So it is with this ending/beginning in our lives.

As we neared the airport, I defaulted to parking on the top deck because it’s just never quite as crowded up there.  As you can see from the photo above, it sure wasn’t crowded today!  But I’m so glad that we parked up there because after unloading the luggage from the car (lots of luggage…very heavy luggage!)  what we saw was the beautiful skyline of the city where Austin had been given so many awesome opportunities.  He had jumped into those opportunities with both feet and didn’t look back.  And now, with that sweet Charlotte skyline behind him and the sun shining bright, he’s moving forward to his new venture.

We’ve known this day was coming.  He’ll be gone for a year, so it’s been a summer of saying a lot of good byes. He’s made deliberate efforts to seek out friends and family and spend time with them, because he knew he’d be gone for a year, and then, frankly, he doesn’t know where he’ll be after that.  So, he’s been very deliberate about pursuing time with friends and family, saying the words that need to be said, so that today…today, he could just move forward with joy, and look behind with the right kind of tears…not tears of what he didn’t do, or what he didn’t say, but tears of missing those he loves.  That’s been an awesome lesson to watch.  Awesome.

I’ve learned from watching him and am so encouraged by the choices he’s making. He knew he was just passing through town for a short time and he did something about it, made an impact day by day.  He was here with our family for a short few months, and he gave it all he had, loved well, asked hard questions, discussed issues, and laughed and played. He made the most of his time…and now there are no regrets.  He knew he was just passing through, and at the end of his time, the good byes were really good.  They were “I’m gonna miss  you so much I can’t wait to see you again” goodbyes.  They were “thank you so much for everything” goodbyes.  They were “You’ve made such a difference here” goodbyes.  Those are some good goodbyes. But they often come packaged in tears that really hurt.  But they aren’t permanent….and this kid is off to say a heck of a lot more “hello”s.  Can’t wait to see the doors that open in this new beginning that can only come after an ending.

Well, trust me.  The kleenex box will be well used today, and it’s not just for allergies, mind you.  My family and I will so miss our Austin.  But as I write this I can’t help but smile because I so know that my kids teach me more than I’ve taught them.  Austin knew he was just passing through our home for a short time and gave it all he had.  Bottom line, we’re all just passing through. Praying that I can do the same in the day in and day out of life….to love well, invest in what’s meaningful, play hard, laugh often, and share the love of Christ in tangible and intangible ways, so that when the passing through is over, the good byes are good good byes.   Full of memories, full of eternal truths that encourage and draw us nearer to the One who loves us most, and full of hope of the hellos yet to come.  Because after the passing through, there’s a going to.  Praying that our time on earth is well spent, so that not only will there be good goodbyes, but that there would be many “hellos” in eternity as a result of the way we lived.  May we make our days count, cause we are all just passing through.

Blessings~

Heather