• Clarice Aeby

Words Absent in Heaven


I hold them close, these two precious granddaughters. I feel the sadness of the “goodbye” as strongly as I felt the exhilaration of the “hello” just ninety minutes earlier.

They were just passing through. That’s the hardest part of little ones living in another state. The passing through. I asked God’s help to stay focused, to live in the moment with them.

Each one let me rub her back and kiss her cheek as she shared end-of-the-year school stories of tetherball, science projects and reading success. They sang a song recently learned with sign language about God’s always-present love as we ate raspberries and cinnamon rolls.

And then they left. And the giggling and bouncing that had filled my living room left with them. I sit now in silence – in the stillness of a gift forced to be held lightly. I wish they lived closer so the “goodbyes” were “see you later” instead.

A sense of alone sweeps over me, and now my task is gratitude – to thank the Lord for the minutes together as I release my wishes. He gently reminds me of His Whisper as I was journeying through grief after the sudden death of my husband.

“A gift is no less a gift because it ends sooner than you wanted.”

Robert Frost gives words to my longing.

THE PASTURE

“I’m going out to clean the pasture spring,

I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away

(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):

I sha’n’t be gone long. – You come too.”

I’m going out to fetch the little calf

That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young,

It totters when she licks it with her tongue.

I sha’n’t be gone long. – You come too.”

Come. I treasure this word. On earth it bookends with "go."

Recently a friend and I talked about what we won’t have in heaven – the things we won’t miss. Goodbye is one I’m eager to release from my reality.

In the meantime, I’ll sit close to the Lord’s sweet invitation today:

“Hear me as I pray, O Lord,

Be merciful and answer me!

My heart heard You say

‘Come and talk to me.’

And my heart responds, “Lord, I’m coming.”

- Psalm 27: 7-8

TO CONSIDER: Are you sitting in the quiet of a “goodbye” today? Perhaps, like me, you’ll be stepping into the warmth of God’s invitation to “come and talk.”

Thanks for sitting still with me today.

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