say hello, I say goodbye,
by F. Schaefer,
....We've said good byes in
our life and none of them were easy. We wonder where the years went. But
there he is--a kid who one moment was fighting with his brother and the next
going off to Penn State. So stand bravely in the driveway. She raises her
hand and says, "you'll be home next week-end, right?" And they both say good
bye. Somewhere else two people come to say good bye. Their
relationship just isn't going anywhere. They go our on some dates, but as the
weeks are swallowed by seasons, they realize it's over. Time to say good
bye. Not just farewell to the movies and lunches and shopping and games.
But really good bye to a presence and a quality that will never completely be
recovered. Saying good bye is hard.
Something deep down in us resists the move from presence to absence. When
someone is present to us, our space is filled, we are not alone. There is
conversation and communion. When someone leaves us, there is crisis. Absence means
silence--lonely, gaping silence.
One thing is for sure--we had better get accustomed to bidding farewell. Life is a
series of leave-takings, movement from presence to absence. Carly Simon sings,
"Nobody ever stays in one place anymore. You say hello, but I say good-bye."
We honestly need God when it comes to hellos and good-byes. Our faith used
to be embodied in words like the English, "good-bye, the Spanish "adios"
the French "adieu." They all imply that when we part--in that moment
between here and not here, between presence and absence, we'd best give so me one to God
when we can no longer hold them ourselves. Good-bye means
God be with you.
So it is that we find a
group of disciples this morning caught hearing a good-bye from the Leader who it
seemed only months before had said hello. Jesus has finished his job and
now returns to heaven. The story wasn't supposed to go like this.
Everything within the disciples, everything they had been taught, had convinced
them that Jesus was supposed to stay. The Messiah they knew was to reign on
earth. Thy will be done on earth . . . .
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