"Goodbye," a word we use so often. Sometimes it is casual, sometimes it is thankful, and sometimes we wonder how on earth taking leave of someone so dear could possibly be good.
I've been saying a lot of goodbyes lately, and it has made me stop and think about what this goodbye stage of my life means. Goodbye ward, goodbye adoptive family, goodbye friends so dear, goodbye house, goodbye work, goodbye South, I leave so much with mixed emotions.
The other day I reached to comfort a child at work who was crying for her mother, and ended up battling tears myself. I'm leaving my babies, the children I have rocked, kissed better, tickled, made up stories for, and helped potty train. I'm leaving children who learned to walk before my eyes and who are now eagerly anticipating the first day of Kindergarten.
I'm leaving the people who literally held me up during the hardest days of my life. I'm leaving people who gave to me out of their poverty when my need was great. I'm leaving a community where I had a real niche, where I was needed and recognised. I'm leaving a community where me being ME was something people loved.
I go to church and wrap my arms around sister after sister, and pray they will take care of one another, for I would have happily cocooned myself in their presence the rest of my life if that had been the path God held for me.
But no, that is not my path. God has something different for me, some secret surprise that I guess at over and over, but I know that it will be better than anything I've imagined. That's the way He gives you know. Look at what he's done for me so far.
So I say "Goodbye" over and over, fully meaning each time the ancient meaning behind the modern phrase, "God be with you."
Yes, God be with you my friends, sisters, brothers, Southern ladies and gentlemen. God be with you best YMCA in the world. God be with you little ward. God be with you little ones who have grown so fast. God be with you my Asian family who has taught me so much.
God be with you all my dear ones, and may we meet once again in His presence our association to renew, for our love has always remained in spite of the miles and years.