He was sweaty and healthy and playing intensely at gaga ball with a large group of Orthodox peers wearing stealthy crosses.
The eye contact was brief. Then, he darted away into the game.
Outside the camp, big kids were hugging and crying and vowing to keep in touch.
My older boy saw me second. He had just emerged from the infirmary.
“I thought I had to check you out of the sick bay,” I said smiling him a greeting and hugging him hello.
“They told me I could come out and say good-bye,” he said disappearing into a crowd of tall youth.
While the younger set competed at the gaga ball court, camp counselors were taking pictures with their campers. Eventually, I had to extract my youngest from the game and find our fellow travelers.
This was the last morning of camp. It had all come to a crashing end.
Saying goodbye is tough.
What is it about endings that challenges the human psyche? We don’t want to say goodbye. We don’t want the good times to end.
Summer is this way too. Who wants the glorious unstructured days of summer to end?
I struggle with endings as my kids age up. Will this be the last summer they want to do camp? Will this be our last family trip?
As I ponder these questions, I see my mother leaning outside the doorway of my childhood home, tears in her eyes as we hug, my car packed full of luggage and kids pulling out of the driveway. These are not new emotions. goodbyes have been tough since the beginning of time.
In the book of John, we see that “Jesus wept.” Jesus wept because he loved Lazarus and knew that Martha and Mary were grieving for their brother. Even though He knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead within a few minutes, He was still overcome with sadness to see his friends so distressed. Martha and Mary didn’t want to say goodbye.
As camp ends, summer ends, childhood ends, God knows our struggles and that gives me comfort. What He knows is that beautiful things and experiences are on the other side of the goodbyes. We just trust and go forward.
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1