Last week my family was scattered all over the country. There are six people currently living at home and two of them were in New York, three in South Carolina, and one stayed home. For a close-knit, always-going-places-together family, it was strange to be separated for a whole week.

By Saturday at 11:30pm we were all back where we belong. We had our own mini family reunion and exchanged experiences. I hadn’t realized how much I missed having my whole family with me until we were all together again.

The next day my older sister, who is married and lives in North Carolina, came for a visit. There was another reunion that day as we haven’t seen her in six months. Again I realized just how much I miss my sister when she isn’t around, and have enjoyed having her around this week.

In ten days we have another reunion. My older sister’s husband, my brother-in-law, returns from his time in Afghanistan with the Marine Corps. He was been gone since January and we all have missed him so. That will be the sweetest reunion of them all.

I’ve been thinking a lot about reunions and what they mean. When I think about a reunion this is what I see: people who have loved and missed each other being able to hold hands again. I have seen a lot of this recently and it just warms my heart so.

Goodbyes can be hard, but to me, the hellos on the other side are worth the pain. So if you are in the midst of a painful goodbye, don’t forget about the beauty that is the reunion, and look forward to it with all you have. Because sometimes, that hope is all we have.

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