Saying Goodbye: Waiting, Hoping, Praying & Life As I Know It

There is a stark reality to life: sometimes goodbye is the only thing there is left to say.  It doesn’t really matter to what or whom; good bye always leaves you somewhat grounded in your own mortality, aching of soul.

Have you said good bye lately?  I have.  Sometimes I think that there is a real test of courage and strength when you have to cross the threshold alone, walk out the door, listen to your IPod and not look back.  Today was that day…I walked from the Anderson University School of Theology for the last time as a student.  I’m an applicant there now, with the hopes of making a real contribution to the school that I love for the rest of my working life.  I simply love AU…it’s home.  It has been since the day that I entered undergrad five years ago, came to my first Bible 1000 class and sat in the very same chair that I sit in now, in the Hartung building, back in the days of my blissful pre-M.Div. state.

I jest…being an M.Div is a great accomplishment.  Master of Divinity.  Not sure what it means all in all, but I have a much better idea now than ever before. It’s one of the toughest degrees you can earn in graduate school.  My brain feels….fried.  It’s the graduating thing that has me thinking about how we Wait, Hope and Pray.  After I finish the Soul Thief this summer and the Diaries,  I think I might write something about the concept of saying goodbye.  It all feels very “Bridges of Madison County” somehow, the packing and tears, the friend that ends his email “see you around….”  Knowing that we’re all going our separate ways now, these people I have loved, been annoyed by, fought with…lived life with.  We’ll all be worlds apart soon.  It’s not that I am unused to saying goodbye.  I just wonder how God feels about it, if we’re ever really separated when we leave so much of ourselves with one another.  Here is where I land on this, the last day of my life in Seminary.  Good bye is all about waiting, hoping, praying and life as you know it.  It’s all about love.

Is your good bye part of life as you know it? I said goodbye to my new son in law Sunday, as he left for the Army.  His wife, my (middle) baby daughter, are two really great people. I am proud of them both.  My youngest daughter has been in tears for days now, missing her big brother horribly.  He’s been part of her life for all the time that she remembers.  Isn’t great how people can just love one another, honestly and without any screwed up biases?  I love that about life.  She’s seven, and she is all in.  Loves unconditionally.  I want to maintain that ability that I still possess…to be all in, over committed to loving, totally enthralled with it.  Granted, healthy balanced emotion is what I am seeking…but the truth of love is undeniable.  These people are life as I know it, the only continuity I have ever had.  Soon, my daughter will join her new husband many thousands of miles from home, and a new phase of our lives will have begun.

Are you waiting in goodbye? I said good bye to someone that I loved not to long ago, unwillingly, suddenly, painfully.  I can’t say that it was a bad thing.  When a person, even a really toxic one,  is forcibly taken from your world it will rattle your cage.  Being left behind in the chaos and the aftermath was daunting. When their ghost lingers or even pursues you, it will drive you to the end of your sanity. When the pain of loss turns to the process of grief you begin to heal.  From this good-bye, I learned about waiting.  I am waiting with the expectation that God will fill the void in my soul left imprinted by another.  I wait for the day when I don’t ache, and when I don’t miss.  I wait for the day when I can smile and be happy that life simply is.  In the days that have now turned to months, there is a peace that begins to form in the waiting.  Now that I am off the floor on unsteady feet, I still thrash about a bit, but I can see glimpses of what was before.  I can see the improved me in here, coming slowly back from what once was a total train wreck.

Are you hoping in your good-bye? I said good bye to a family member, one that came to live with me for a few years.  It changed my world again, the shifting of responsibility and care, the knowing and feeling that there is nothing left for me to do but be.  I am hopeful, hopeful that for once her life will turn out to be who and what she wants it to be, no regrets.  Her life is so full of regret that I ache for a way to fix it, but the damage was done long before I ever came on the scene.  I am hoping, still waiting, and knowing that God will make a way where I have no way to help.  It’s out of my hands, but never out of my heart.

Are you praying in your goodbye? I said goodbye to a new friend today, a person that I haven’t known all that long but care so much for.  He’s unique and different, and I treated him with an unusual amount of intensity, even for me.  Usually, I am pretty easy to get along with, and full of life and light, but with him, I was different.  I forgot what was important to me for a moment, and that is caring about other people.  He’s gracious and forgiving, and deserves a life of happiness. Being my friend must have been hard for him.  Although I was the one that said goodbye, it’s actually something I wish that I hadn’t done…and I am glad that I did.  I am praying for him, hoping for him, waiting and expecting a great life for him, this person that deserves so much than life has been so far.

Four different kinds of good bye, one result – I miss them.  I miss their light and love in my life.  I miss the way that these human beings intersect, bring joy and pain, love and happiness, even craziness and anger.  I miss the way that I see God in all of them, and the way that they are worthwhile.  And then I remember…each of them is out there in this world.  I can still be part of the circle of life by being part of my own existence, all in, fully present.  I can honor their time with me by being healthy and full.  I can pray and offer incense, be inspired to write, to create….

I can love.

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