Why I’ll Always Wave Goodbye

Jenna Kutcher 

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August 4, 2016



Perhaps it was because I was raised by a fire fighter and an emergency room nurse, maybe it was because they have both seen the worst case scenarios and didn’t hide them from us…. Or maybe it was just that I have always felt like an old person trapped in a younger body. It could be because our tiny little Minnesotan town faced tragedy far too many times when I was young or simply that I have always been acutely aware of what living looks like. Regardless of the why, I have always been entirely aware that nothing is ever promised to us: not our next minute, our next breath, or ten years from now. My parents never hid death from us, they invited us into it, to experience the magnitude but also to appreciate the fact that waking up every morning is a blessing.

I feel like we, as human beings, like to imagine we will live forever. That things like cancer or car accidents aren’t a part of our lives, they just happen to other people. When I was a little girl, I would have my mom wake me up every single morning (no matter what time she left) so that I could stand in the window and send her off. I always wanted to hug her goodbye, to wave as her brake lights wound down the driveway, and as she drove off I would blow a kiss and say, “I love you, God protect you.” I never once missed a chance to send her off with a wave and a blessing – even when I was just a tiny little girl.

We’ve all heard those country songs that tell us to “live like we are dying,” but the truth is, we don’t. Until we kiss tragedy smack dab on the lips, we cloak ourselves with confidence that tomorrow, next week, twenty years from now are ours to claim. We put things off, keep adding to our bucket list, sleep in instead of going to church on Sunday, and leave far too many statements that start with “if” and end with “then.” I feel like lately I’ve stopped pretending, I’ve really just grabbed life with my two hands and have embraced it fully, knowing what fate looks like in life but still standing at that window waving with confidence knowing that each day is sent off with a smile and with hope.

How can you spend five extra minutes in bed memorizing every feature of your loved one? How can you document your life in a meaningful way, one that will transcend your life and be treasured by next generations? How can you inspire others to get out and actually live, not just punch a time clock and collect a pay check? How can you make your life mean something? Nothing is promised my friends, but I do promise if you’re reading this, you’ve been given and opportunity to live a little harder and I pray that you’ll wake up to that and cling to it today.

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  1. Steph Rasmusson says:

    I love this, couldn’t agree more! Thanks for the beautifully written reminder.

  2. Jess says:

    “We cloak ourselves with confidence…” so vivid and so beautiful.

  3. Jess says:

    “We cloak ourselves with confidence…” so vivid and so beautiful. Love this!

  4. WOW! I feel this. I have tears in our eyes. Now that I had two children only ten months apart, I fear leaving them early and them not having me around when they grow up. Everything is fine with me, but after having them, my life changed and they gave me meaning. Thank you for this and I will pray a lot harder and always remember this. Thank you! Blahhhh. Tears. 🙂 Job well done!

  5. Connie piatz says:

    Very inspirational……..your pictures and words leave a mark in everyone’s heart;)

  6. Chris says:

    You do have an old soul for a young body! Tears and truths! Thanks Jenna! ????

  7. Ina says:

    Beautiful thoughts ! Exactly what everyone needs to read, first thing in the morning, to conquer the day ! 🙂

  8. Sue Nash says:

    Awesome….just awesome!! A beautiful family…and the offspring that came. The world has been blessed!!


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A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

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