“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”
~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Saying goodbye to someone is sometimes a difficult situation.
As a young teen, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. It was a brief illness, and at one point, my grandfather revived her at home after going into cardiac arrest. My sister and I were flown to their home to visit them within the next week.
Although she was quite ill, the mood of the visit was lighthearted and we even talked of making plans for the next summer with she and and my grandfather.
For my sister and I, as well as my grandparents, we simply didn't talk about "what if?"
There are simply times in our lives when we would rather weigh on the side of hope. This was one of those times.
As we arrived at the airport, and got out of the car to leave for home, it was as if we would see them both again in just a few months for the summer, as we always did, and the mood was reflective of that feeling.
To this day I can now fully describe what I "wish I had said and done."
I turned and looked back one more time as we walked away. My grandmother sat, facing forward in the car, wearing a jacket because she was chilled, and for some reason, her hands were folded in her lap. As an adult I understand the need to be stoic and put on a "good face." I just remember smiling, while on the inside I was crying out.
For many years I regretted not breaking free from this strong appearance and run to her, while telling her everything I was feeling, and to embrace her and tell her how much I loved her.
While my grandmother died peacefully with my grandfather by her side, my mind moves to Calvary and the sights and sounds of the final moments in the life of Christ.
For those who had walked beside him for the last few years, I wonder what they truly wanted to say? And yet, there is not a lot written about what they were feeling. We know of the last words of Christ upon the cross, but what other discussions were there and the words that each disciple may have shared? We know that they were gathered together and were all told the news that "He is Risen!" together, but what were the words they shared prior to fallen into sleep after such a traumatic experience?
If there is one thing that Lent should provide for each of us, it is the need to be open to sharing ourselves more with one another. The understanding that we are Ecclesiastical people with many endings and new beginnings. The importance of saying "hello" is as important as saying "good bye." Just as it is with a prayer, the "Dear Lord" beginning is completed with an "Amen."
For any of us, may our ability to not just say "hello" but also "goodbye" provides for greater relationships in our lives. While we are not always given the opportunity to know when our goodbye may be the last, there is comfort in knowing when we have shared ourselves with one another.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, in Your mercy, may we learn to express ourselves in a way that there are no regrets for not having said what we were truly thinking or feeling, when we leave the side of someone else. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.