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?


Sewing Mom said...

I guess I've never thought about it. I suppose that you're right...there are hello's with goodbyes...but maybe sometimes they take longer to find...or sometimes we don't welcome the hello's as readily because they're no easier to embrace than the goodbyes(if that makes sense). I guess the real question is, do I like rollercoasters?!?!

Rebecca said...

oh my goodness, yes, you've named it! I think the hellos are harder to discover and are harder to see because of the pain of what we've lost. Sometimes we don't want to take the new gift because it's a way of protesting. Or at least that's the way I feel. Roller coaster it is!

carol longenecker hiestand said...

being able to be with someone in grief without offering solutions. Presence...I doubt I did this really well before healing from my own losses.

Unknown said...

So I may not be able to get my thought across.

In both times of loss and when one of my strongest of desires is not met I have found myself considering my reality past this life. Because there I count this loss no longer being lost, and this desire no longer lacking fulfillment. My personal negative physical, emotional, and et al. response that I have in my loss, in my desire, is often working within a false framework. I am tricked into thinking in my loss, "I will not have that again." I am tricked into thinking in my desire, "You will always feel the distress of not having 'it.'" (That last part is what I'm not sure I can get across well. The rest I have to say is "duh" material).

It is precious when I receive the grace to ponder within the life-that-is-to-come; the then, when the experience of the sweetest moments now lost will not only again be lived, but outlived; the then, when the experience of my deepest desires being fulfilled will not only be lived, but outlived. And even still the then will be more that this.

To be honest, in some of my losses, most poignantly in the loss of loved ones, I have been hard-pressed to find many "hello" moments that follow. But now that you mention it, I could put on a list inner-strength. I could put on a list a deeper appreciation for the breadth and depth of Jesus'Gospel and Kingdom. I could put on a list a fuller sense of thanksgiving. I think these are what we classify as intangibles?

Thanks for the conversation Rebecca

Rebecca said...

Hi Jonathan! I think many of these intangibles are highly formative - they make us who we are and impact our very tangible choices. I love your list as well as your experience of receiving grace to believe what is currently "not yet".

Rebecca said...

Carol, I think that the gift of presence is one of the best we can offer people! Truly, it is what Jesus gives us!

Unknown said...

Totally you are right.

Perspective is a wisdom only earned.

Unknown said...

And then, one person says earned while another, in the pain of the moment, says endured.