If there is one word in the English language that I can honestly say I
hate, it's the word "good-bye."
Whenever I just think of saying good-bye to someone my soul aches, my
heart beats fast and I physically need to shake myself out of the
feeling. Yet life itself is filled with good-byes. Today we
unofficially say good-bye to summer. My question is "But where did it
go?" I thought I just said hello to Spring.
I was surrounded by good-byes today. That's why I felt compelled to
share this thought with you right now while I'm still feeling the pain.
The strange part is that I really didn't say good-bye to anyone. But I
watched as others did.
The neighbor on my right sent her son away to college a few weeks ago
but that was like a test run. He went, settled in, took a few classes
and then came home for Labor Day. But now he returns to his new
To my left, I watched a young lady pack up her car to the max.
Her friend stood there with video camera in hand and recorded the big
event. They cried. So did I.
In part it could be envy. They are both young, starting life with a
clean slate. They will meet new people, maybe their future partners in
life. They have children to bring into the world perhaps. New jobs.
Their first house.
Here I am working on 50 years. Events like that put things into
perspective for me. I still struggle with thoughts of me being fifty
next year. My spirit is in tune with those two young people. I still
see my slate as clean and unmarked even though it's clouded up with old
chalk dust because I keep erasing it and starting over.
Seeing them packing up their dreams into the trunks and back seats of
their cars reminded me that every beginning has an end. But every ending
invites an brand new beginning. The difference I think is that when I
was their age I had forever in my soul. Today forever seems as close as
tomorrow yet as distant as me at 100 years of age. When I think of
reaching 100 I get overwhelmed with the thought of having another 50
years to discover life. I can assure you that until my last breath I
will still be searching for who I am and what I want to be when I grow
But an odd thought came to me just yesterday. For one moment, when I
thought about how much time I had left in this world, the rather
soothing, pacifying thought of seeing my deceased relatives and friends
gave me satisfaction. Here's what I discovered:
Good-byes are not forever. Nor is parting such sweet sorrow. If I have
connected in such a way to another person, then they are a permanent
part of me. They do not leave intact, for they have shared with me a
bit of themselves which I have willfully absorbed into my being. God's
gift to us to compensate for good-byes is "memory." So that I can
recall the sweet smell of a summer rose in the middle of a cold bleak
winter day or the smile of my beautiful mother as she gently kissed away
And so as the roadways across this great country fill with our neighbors
and friends returning home or beginning a new journey, I take this
moment to thank God that although we may have never met, I know that
whenever I need to I can come back into your world to share my hopes,
fears, joys and sorrows. And with a click of your mouse you welcome my
visit into that most precious part of you, your soul.
I am truly honored by that thought. Please know that I take you with me
no matter where I go. I do think about who you are. When I discover
something incredible in a chance meeting with a rainbow I think of you.
Or in the middle of a deep conversation with someone who has just heard
me speak at a conference, I wonder if their words are yours. I want to
be your eyes in this world when you can't see how incredible it really
is. I want to be your voice whenever you feel frustrated and you just
can't explain it. I want to be your friend when something great has
just happened and you don't think anyone else would understand how truly
great it is. I want to be that pause in the middle of your week that
provides a temporary getaway from your reality. I want to serve as your
reminder that life isn't always as bad as it seems and you are an
incredible gift from God to this world.