I have lived away from my ancestral home now for exactly half my life. That means that I have said many, many hellos and goodbyes to my parents and my sisters.
And in spite of doing it many times, it is never easy. I love these people deeply and fiercely. They matter very much to me. So saying hello is happy and exhilarating and wonderful, and saying goodbye is hard and wrenching and sad.
Most of the time when we say goodbye we do not know exactly when we will see each other again. And years ago I decided that since we can never know if we have tomorrow, I would say to them the things that matter most each time I said goodbye.
What are those things? How can I sum up in just a few words all my heart holds?
...for the childhood memories we share.
...for being such terrific parents and grand-parents.
...for being such generous sisters.
...for all that you've taught me.
...for being such a godly example to me, still.
...for following, praising, and worshipping God, no matter what.
...for loving each other, no matter what.
...for coming to visit, or allowing me to visit you ("visiting" means "living with"!).
I love you.
...for being who God has made you to be.
...for loving me in spite of myself.
...because you are so precious to me, and so cherished by God.
...and I always will.
I love you.
Five little words that carry so much meaning.
"I love you."