Pastor’s CORNER: How to say goodbye well
Endings are a part of life. We say goodbye to people, places, pets, items of significance, and jobs. I recently, tongue and cheek, said goodbye to a bag of potato chips because the company changed the recipe and they are no longer my favorite. All I can do is pass them by in the grocery aisle and remember when those ‘Barrel ‘O Fun’ sour cream and onion potato chips were the best.
In life and faith, we say goodbye. Sometimes we say goodbye to bad habits. We cut ourselves off from addictions, working hard to make them history in our lives. We say goodbye to relationships that are toxic. We also say goodbye to sweet, good things; a treasured relative, a beloved home, a good job, a child heading off to college. How can we do goodbyes well? As I transition from my current role as Pastor at Rugby-Leeds United Parish and move to a new community, goodbyes are on my mind. Here are a few thoughts about goodbyes.
1) Don’t rush goodbye. Give space for silence and emptiness. When we left our recent home, I allowed the kids to go room to room in our empty house and say goodbye. They recalled memories in each room; Christmas mornings coming down the staircase to peek at the presents, the day the boys were wrestling and kicked a hole in the playroom wall, the way the kitchen used to look before the renovation.
2) Express gratitude. In every situation there is something for which to be grateful. Speak it. Write it. It means more than you know to a person to hear how they impacted your life. Communicating gratitude for what has been shared or experienced is part of letting go well.
3) Pray about endings. Pray for the people involved and for guidance in this transition. Pray about your fears and your gratitude. Pray that the ending and new beginning would go peacefully for all involved. Ask others to pray for your transition too, as you lean into God’s lead.
4) Show up. When it’s possible show up for a person in a time of transition. Call, text, send something. Change is hard even for the most seasoned of people. Little acts of kindness like hauling boxes, delivering flowers, sending a card, or bringing a meal; are not soon forgotten.
5) Be gentle with yourself. Goodbyes are a grief. Get rest. It might take a little while to embrace what is good ahead, as you let go of what is behind you. Help yourself to get excited about what is ahead. I’m a sucker for ice cream, a meal out, a quiet nap, and a long walk with someone who likes to talk. These little actions help my heart recover.
When Jesus said goodbye for the final time, he had given his peace to his disciples, commissioned them to continue his good work, then he spoke these words of encouragement; “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 Through all our endings and new beginnings, God is with us. We are not alone.
May God bless all your endings with comfort, and all your beginnings with hope.
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