Tuesday, February 17, 2009

See You Later

“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” by Frederick Buechner, inTelling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale

As I read this quote, many visions of saying good-bye to love-ones popped into my head. For example, the good-bye’s to our daughter who in the 8th grade flew from Oregon to Washington DC in a school project. The frequent weekend good-bye’s to my fiancé’ as I returned to college a 100 miles away each Sunday afternoon. The tough good-bye to my four grandchildren the time I left for a conference one state away.

The grand good-bye of all that will leave a vision in my mind and heart forever is the walking away from my three-year-old grandson who stood wrapped in the curtain of his bedroom window. Looking down from the second floor to grandma and grandpa walking to the car with his three older sisters crushed my heart as much as it did his. He was too little to understand or appreciate the fact that he wasn’t being left behind but merely awaiting his dad that was soon to come. No amount of smiles, waves, and blown kisses were going to change what he was seeing and felt inside.

Saying good-bye can be a tough thing. For some it holds a memory of the “last time” they saw that person. However, it can be a memory to cherish and store away in the world within us that we gave them permission to dwell in through our actions, attitudes, and choices. It’s often not the miles across the globe that separates us. It’s our indifferences, choices, and stubborn pride that create the feeling of being “miles apart” yet under the same roof.

Once when I was in an emergency room with my daughter a lady was choking to death on her vomit. The people in the ER called her daughter and the reply they got out of her was, “Oh, we’re not speaking to each other. Call me when she dies.” It doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to shut people out of our world. It doesn’t feel good when people do it to us but it doesn’t give us permission to do it to them or others.

As children of God, following His example we are not to create the distance but to shorten it. To go first anyway when others are being the ones who are stubborn. We need to live our lives as if every day was a goodbye expressing how we feel instead of storing it up for a memorial service later when they are gone.

It reminds me of my own lesson on this when a dear friend of mine died suddenly and I regretted not being able to tell her goodbye before she left. It took years of healing to realize that I had already done so long before her death by allowing her in my world. The world of cherished love ones that was expressed daily instead of set aside for storage. It’s true what they say that it isn’t “goodbye” but “see you later.” Don’t wait till tomorrow what you could do today!

Copyright 2009 Karen J. Gillett @ Pencil Marks and Recipes Publishing


MiPa said...

Poignant post. Bless you for sharing.

Esthermay said...

Wow! The story of the choking woman is horrifying!!
. . . I do pray that I use my time on earth with family to glorify HIM and thereby blessing and keeping the relationships growing and blooming and vital.
Very good post. Thank you for sharing personal glimpses into your "world."

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding us to let memories of goodbye be cherished not painful.

Be blessed