Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Saying Goodbye

The hardest thing that most of us will ever do is to say goodbye. We dread the time when a friend or loved one moves away. We do not like our child's first day of Kindergarten. We are heartsick at the death of a parent. Everyone is hurt by the goodbye's of divorce and family separation. Goodbye is hard. It is maybe the hardest.

But, I am beginning to have a new perspective. What if goodbye, painful though it may be, is actually good. Of course, the first thing you notice at that thought is that the word good is contained within the goodbye. Although the derivation of interesting tidbit comes from wishing someone "God's blessings," or God be with you," it does not hurt to think of good when we are saying goodbye.

Here is why I think that painful, heartfelt goodbye's are good.
  • When we hurt in a good bye it demonstrates the value of the person we are leaving in our own emotional universe. The pain we feel is actually an affirmation of the love that we have for another.
  • Tearful goodbyes remind us that we have the capacity to care for others. Our world, our society and our own personalities call us to insulate ourselves from caring about anyone else. When we hurt, it is a sign that we are still fighting against selfishness.
  • The emotions that we try to resist at goodbye's are proof that we are completely human. Only humans can know emotions in this way.
  • Painful goodbyes remind us of our dependence on other people. We cry because we are afraid that the one leaving cannot be replaced. What will I do without that loved one?
Goodbye's are not easy or fun. But we can learn from them. We should embrace them. And we should experience them to the fullest.

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