Today and tomorrow I am saying goodbye to some elderly shut-ins who I've cared for and pastored for nearly eleven years. That is tough because it's obvious but goes unmentioned that we won't ever see one another again, here at least.
And a few are struggling with sickness, cancer being the primary disease. I'm leaving them with a prayer and a hope. I don't know if our parting is permanent, and none of us address that lingering question.
For each of them my leaving brings discomfort and concern. Not necessarily for what I give them on a daily or weekly basis, but for what I bring them as they enter their final days. My presence offers them comfort in death somehow. A pastor to pray with them and someone to bury them become a primary need at this point, and I am withdrawing from that work.
But the are gracious to me. They've mentioned these needs before, but for now they silence their concerns and bless me. I say my goodbyes, probably for the last time, and I leave with more tears in my eyes.
That is why I hate saying good bye.