When I moved to England to be with my husband, I learned one thing about the English quickly: they like their goodbyes. I’m not exactly certain why except that it’s a cultural thing (perhaps it’s because they don’t want to be awkward and so they just keep prolonging the goodbye process).

Image Credit: he(art)geek

Even though I struggle with not wanting to say goodbye when we have friends around or when I’m chatting on the phone with a friend, these prolonged goodbyes took some getting used to. As an American, I’m used to going to someone’s house and then actually leaving when we say we are going to leave. In England, if we’re visiting a friends’ home and say we’re going to leave, it may be another 15-30 minutes before you actually leave.

I have to confess that since I don’t like to say goodbye myself, I kind of like this part of the English culture. I just don’t do goodbyes well. I don’t like to say goodbye.

Working for a mission organisation, we see a lot of people come and go from our field. We welcome a lot of people to our team, and at the same time are saying goodbye to a lot of people who leave the team. I probably can’t even count on one hand how many people have left our team in the last year and a bit that I’ve been here. Sometimes we know the goodbye is coming… and other times the goodbye is rather sudden.

In the last couple months leading up to Christmas, we said goodbye to a number of people. It was different because I didn’t get to say goodbye to everyone who was leaving (because we were in the US at the time). In December, we said goodbye to some good friends of ours who were relocating to the US permanently. Because they’re good friends, it was difficult to see them go.

Saying goodbye is a part of life. The thing with saying goodbye is that we may not understand why we have to do it, but at least it’s not forever. If we’re all Christians, we will see each other again someday when we meet our Saviour face to face. It’s nice to find comfort in that.