It seems like I have had more than the usual amount of “good-byes” lately.
Some were expected, and some weren’t. Some marked the close of a chapter, others the separation from someone dear. Some of them are all mixed up together.
Overall, I don’t like it. It hurts.
A good-bye means separation, an ending of some sort. What remains is a hole and often that holes aches for what used to be there, whether it be the person you could share your secrets with or the ability to mount a flight of stairs without thinking about it or familiar surroundings that are no longer yours. It doesn’t matter much whether the ending is ushering in what is next and is even better, or is thrust upon us against our will – there is still loss and a need to get used to a new normal.
At the same time, I am reminded that the word “good-bye” is actually a smished up version of “God be with you” dating back to the late 1500’s (which explains why it ends the way it does, because back then they used the word “ye” instead of the word “you”). And while knowing that doesn’t render the separation painless, it does make it feel a little less final: because if I know God is present with what or who I no longer see, I know we remain connected through the God who watches over all that God has made, including us.
The march of time stops for no one. As we travel through our lives, many chapters and people will come and go. To some of these we may say “Good riddance!” But to the rest we can say “Good-bye” – that is, “God be with you,” and know we are held in God’s loving arms – together.
I pray, if you have good-byes in your life, that they may be gentle. And in the midst of them, remember that God is with you!