I sat in the sanctuary at First Lutheran Church in Kelowna in the dark, my guitar in hand. I had not planned on writing a song. I had decided to sit and pray and ponder. I was sad. Sad for friends grieving the loss of a friend who was in desperate need of rehab, and who finally agreed to go. But he never made it. He died before he got there. He struggled not only with addiction issues, but also with issues about God and faith. Did he die a believer? Why didn’t he make it to rehab? So much promise for health and healing. Why? Why? What if?
Within minutes I had penned the whole song. I shared it with my friends who convinced the guy’s mom that I needed to sing it at the funeral. I do not like singing at funerals. They are hard to sing at; so much emotion. But the song somehow held out a ray of hope for the hopeless.
Little did I know that four years later my own brother would die unexpectedly under very similar circumstances. So many whys and what ifs? How does one say goodbye with so many unanswered questions about a loved one’s life, death and eternal destination? The song suddenly had new meaning for me and my family. Sometimes we can do nothing more than trust in the mercy of Almighty God, who sent His Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. (John 3:16-17). At the request of my parents, I sang “Goodbye” at my brother’s funeral. How do we say goodbye to one who touched our lives? We entrust them to the One, Father, Spirit, Son, that is how we say goodbye.