A good-bye hug

A couple weekends ago I was in Sumter, SC due to a conference.   

As you may know, Sumter is what is often called “a military town” for it has a large US Military Base there (Air Force, Fort Sumter).     

On that Saturday morning, as I was making my way to my car to leave the motel and head over to the conference, I noticed a rather large group of people huddled together in the parking lot.  I paid little attention figuring they’d be gone by the time I wanted to drive out of the parking lot.   

No such thing.  They were all still there as I began my exit and I was thinking, “What goes here?”  Then I knew.  I saw a young airman and an older man embracing each other tightly.  They stood there like that for a long time while the other family members soberly stood around.   

I immediately knew what was going on—this was not a good-natured “see you soon hug”; what I was witnessing was a genuine “good-bye” hug.  A dad was sending his son off to serve his country.  I recognized that hug—it hasn’t been that long since I’d gave one myself.

A “good-bye” hug is different than an “I’ll see you soon hug.”   

I’ve witnessed “good-bye’ hugs many times over the years.   

For example, I’ve observed them in hospital rooms before a surgery when everyone gives a “good-bye” hug.  They’re hopeful…but everyone in the room knows that with surgery things sometime happens.  The hugs and parting words are always a little more earnest and sincere on those days. 

I’ve witnessed those quiet good-bye hugs just before weddings.  Smiles and tears mingle and parent and child know (especially the parent) that they will see each other tomorrow but things will never be the same again.  Their parting words and hugs are different on those days. 

Good-bye hugs… 

They understand that you should never take people for granted, 

They understand that you should never take a moment for granted, 

They understand that now is all you’ve really truly got and you’d better savor it, 

They understand that what makes the moment precious is not your stuff, but your love…for a person. 

  • The ONE THING for today?  Make every hug a “good-bye hug”…just in case.


“None saw her last meeting with Elrond her father, for they went up into the hills and there spoke long together, and bitter was their parting that should endure beyond the ends of the world.”

The parting or Arwen and Elrond

The Lord of the Rings


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2 thoughts on “A good-bye hug

  1. You are right David, but those hugs of goodbye and don’t know when or if you will see each other again are the worst. That’s when we trust God to take care of us all until. .. Good message!!!


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