Saturday, August 18, 2012

Praying Our Goodbyes

At the airport recently, I saw a young couple perhaps in their mid-twenties, standing just behind the security tape, in a tight embrace. They were both in tears, looking at each other occasionally then kissing; then back in the embrace where their arms were locked around the other. I couldn’t tell which one was leaving but I could tell you none of them wants to let go from that embrace.

The scene reminded me of another couple I saw at the starting line of the San Francisco Marathon. When it was announced one minute to start, the couple smacked on the lips, a quick hug (almost like a chest bump), then the young man walked away and disappeared in the pack.

Two scenes of goodbye said differently. Most of us have been in both kinds of goodbyes. Some goodbyes are easier to say because we know pretty soon we will be reunited with our loved ones. Just like the couple in the race. Some goodbyes are harder perhaps because of the unknown. Just like the couple at the airport.

 But whatever the case may be, goodbyes remind us about a fact of life. At some point in our lives, we would all experience a separation, a loss, a disruption in our “normal” lives. Painful as some of our experience may be, they give us an opportunity to grow, to be renewed, to move forward. And in all ways, goodbyes remind us about God’s presence in our lives. That as we learn to let go, we also learn to let God.

A few days ago, I prayed my goodbye to my nephew at the airport. I prayed for his success in the kind of life he desired. Also last week, I prayed my goodbye to my old workplace. I moved to a new school with a completely different level of students to teach. Today I prayed my goodbye to a dear friend who was laid to rest this morning.

Every time I run, I pray for more faith; and I pray in thanksgiving for all that I have received. I wouldn’t be able to pray my goodbyes if I hadn’t learned how to love more and live life fuller from all the goodbyes I’ve said before.

God speed!

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