Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Hello again.

I hate saying goodbye.

This might come from living a highly mobile life from an early age, or perhaps it's because I value stability and continuity -- two things that many of us in today's global society lack. Maybe it's because many of the goodbyes we've said happened too soon and we weren't ready or prepared for them.

-A year ago I lost both grandmothers within a few months of each other.
I was not ready to say goodbye.
-Last month our home was robbed and jewelry, mementos, electronics, and DVDs were taken.
I was not ready to say goodbye.
-Five years ago this fall our toddler son died of cancer.
I was not ready to say goodbye.
-Five years before that my husband lost his dad to a rare disease.
We were not ready to say goodbye.

This is why I avoid goodbyes. They remind me of the big things I've lost that I wasn't ready to part with.

A few years ago I read a book entitled Praying Our Goodbyes. The basic gist of it is that with each new transition in our lives there is something we lose as well as something that can be gained. Each goodbye contains within it the seeds of something new and fresh. Basically, with each "goodbye" there is a "hello." Many of us are really good at seeing the loss in each life transition. (Sometimes that's all I can see!) But how do we reframe our lives to see the coming newness? How do we train ourselves to see the possibility and the gift within each closed door? Each of us experience many "goodbyes" over the course of our lifetime, and most of the time we aren't prepared for what we lose. Perhaps there is no sure way of preparing ourselves. But what we can prepare ourselves for is the "hello."

Here are a few of my "hello's" in no particular order:

Andre, our third child. He's pretty amazing.
Graduate school in a new city.
Friends in the child-loss community all around the world.
Deep friendships with people who aren't afraid to talk about their $#%t.
A strong inner life.
Knowing my own mind.
Unexpected joy.
Growing fearlessness.

What about you? What has been the "hello" within your goodbyes? What might you be called to view with new eyes?