Tuesday, May 24, 2005

On Saying Good-bye

A good friend and colleague with whom I have worked for the past five years is leaving to accept a call to another church. I've known this for sometime, but there is something about postponing the last good-bye as long as I can. Perhaps I hope that I can avoid the mixed emotions that come with almost every transition I must face in life. In some ways, saying good-bye to a friend as they pack the moving van and drive away is similar to death. The finality of it all doesn't hit you until much later.

There used to be a time when I avoided saying "good-bye" like the plague. If I had my preference, I would leave in the dark of night to avoid the hugs and tears once and twice over. But as I age, I am discovering that life is filled with "good-byes". We not only say good-bye with the expectation that will see someone again, we also say "good-bye" knowing full well that we may not. These are the "good-byes" that are most difficult for me. These are the good-byes that stab me in the heart everytime I say them.

I am beginning to see all the "good-byes" in my life as another opportunity to give thanks to God for the privilege of walking beside another during this part of our journey together. I'm no longer afraid to say how hard "good-byes" can be for me in hope that my honesty might prompt a joy that only comes after a saying "good-bye" without knowing whether it will be the last time we must say good-bye or not. Good-bye BDN.


At 3:58 PM, Anonymous jedipastor said...

I know exactly what you mean. In fact, I have enjoyed the companionship of one my colleagues for the last five as well. I came to appreciate this friendship much more over lunch today. I was having lunch with a fellow youth pastor. He confessed that the relation between himself and his senior pastor is not what he expected it be. He told me that his colleague is often distance and not very relational.
It made me a appreciate my colleague and friend who has meant so much to me over the years. Not only as he taught me so much, he has been a good friend. We've had some great times.
The funny thing is, like saying Good-bye, I find showing appreciation to my friends very difficult. I usually communicate it through my humor and take a cheap shot at him. There must be some link between saying good-bye and expressing gratitude for people. We avoid them both.
Perhaps the best way we know how to express these sentiments is through letters, cards, or now emails. Yet,since my friend is so post-modern (Cheap shot), I will probably just show by apprecation by responding to his blog.

At 8:24 AM, Anonymous Streetwise said...

Knowing this relationship, one can not help but to think of the last episode of M*A*S*H where we find the closest of colleagues, Hawkeye and BJ, in a similar circumstance. They both had a difficult time with 'good-bye'.


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